West ring road construction causes major traffic delays for northwest Calgary residents
Severe traffic delays in the northwest communities of Valley Ridge and Crestmont are creating major headaches for local residents and drivers trying to access the area.
The neighbourhoods are located right in the heart of Calgary’s West Ring Road project but residents claim there is only one way in and one way out for westbound and eastbound commuters.
“It’s a little bit concerning when it comes to emergency vehicles getting in and out of this area mainly because you got only one roundabout and you have two communities using it,” said Todd MacGregor who works nearby.
“I think both communities need more exits and entrances rather than just having one.”
As it remains, westbound drivers only have the option of entering Valley Ridge from an exit off the Trans-Canada Highway.
Crestmont residents are forced to go through a roundabout and under a bridge deck, which bottlenecks traffic at an intersection.
All the while, more eastbound cars from the Trans-Canada Highway are stopped at that intersection to allow Crestmont drivers to go home and Valley Ridge residents to exit.
The lineup to get out of Valley Ridge is often backed up during rush hour causing major delays, according to local residents like Emma Schneider.
“I mean it took me almost an hour to get to soccer practice when my GPS said it would take me 30 minutes. It was just awful – it took me forever,” she said.
Others neighbours like Scott Barnouw has also had several of his medical appointments pushed back because of the traffic delays.
“I started leaving the neighbourhood and something that would normally take me a 10-minute drive ended up taking me 30 minutes to get there,” he said.
“Someone needs to regulate and oversee these construction companies when they’re doing this work, because they don’t seem to make it easy for the public, they just look after their own needs.”
ALBERTA TRANSPORTATION COMMITS TO SAFE ACCESS
Alberta’s Ministry of Transportation told CTV News that it realizes the inconvenience and disruptions as a result of major construction projects, adding that it appreciates the patience of drivers.
The province added that there are two emergency access points available to emergency responders from the community of Valley Ridge – one on the southwest side of the Trans-Canada Highway and the other on the east side of Stoney Trail.
Both of those exits are however gated, locked, and only opened in the event of an emergency.
In a statement from Mark Jacka, press secretary for the Ministry of Transportation, he says:
“The contractor (Ellis Don) works with emergency responders to share information as construction is ongoing so that emergency responders are aware of detours and work impacting traffic.”
“Last week the contractor finished the construction and shifting of traffic onto the final alignment of Valley Ridge Boulevard leading into the community of Valley Ridge.”
CTV News reached out to Ellis Don Construction who is overseeing the West Ring Road project, but did not receive a response.
The City of Calgary did, however, release a statement.
“As with all ring road projects, the corridor here is entirely within provincial control and jurisdiction and it is within their role to review and address concerns and approve any detour plans,” it said.
“The only exception is if any detours make use of city roads, then the contractor needs to review with us. However in this instance that has not been the case.”
The City went on to say that it conveys all concerns to Alberta Transportation and it is up to the province to address future problems.
Construction on the West Ring Road project is not expected to be completed until 2024.