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Calgary ring road milestone with opening of West Bow River Bridge

Calgarians got their first chance to drive on the partially completed West Bow River Bridge on Oct. 19, with one of the last major phases Calgary Ring Road completing on Thursday.

The bridge, which has one lane opened as paving is completed on the last two lanes, has been promised to improve commute times and connect Calgarians to and from the northwest.

Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors, Devin Dreeshen, said that the completion of the bridge project and the ring road was on-time and on budget.

“Just 80,000 vehicles go across this river every day, and to twin the bridge that has been here is a huge announcement for people on the west side of Calgary and people commuting around the ring road of Calgary,” he said.

“By early next year, the complete Calgary Ring Road will be done. It’ll be 101 kilometres of a ring road surrounding the city of Calgary.”

Minister Dreeshen said that the bridge project was part of three different projects in the surrounding area, including the Trans Canada Highway overpass, and the connection to Canada Olympic Park.

Paving crews load up on asphalt to complete paving on the West Bow River Bridge on Stoney Trail in Calgary on Thursday, October 19, 2023. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Ring road complex project requiring dozens of bridges

A spokesperson for Ellis Don said that overall the area required the completion of 20 bridges, including the West Bow River Bridge. According to the Government of Alberta, the entire West Calgary Ring Road project required six interchanges to be built, along with 29 bridges.

“It’s a very complex area of the city, working with the adjacent communities. It was very successful,” said the spokesperson.

Ellis Don said that the remaining lave paving would be completed over the next several weeks.

Minister Dreeshen said that the government had been pushing contractors and developers to ensure that the 2024 opening of the entire ring road was met.

“Most of it is actually completed now. There’s a lot of auditing and going through the contract and the the final negotiations of it to make sure that all the different overpasses, the pavement, everything is up to par, so that work is underway right now,” he said.

“But it’s our best-case scenario and our expectation and hope that early in the new year Calgarians and everybody traveling in and around Calgary will be able to enjoy a completed Ring Road that’ll be open.”

The West Bow River Bridge was reported in 2022 to have cost the province $89 million to build. The original completion date was pushed back by the then Alberta NDP government from 2019 to 2022, which was then pushed back a further two years by the UCP government due to utilities work required and the Covid-19 pandemic.