Partial access given to Calgary carriers

CALGARY — A partial victory has been declared in the drive for better access to the businesses located in a Calgary industrial area.

After scrapping plans for two interchanges originally included in plans to build the southeast portion of Calgary’s ring road project, the province has conceded one flyover to be put back into the plans.

Alberta’s Transport Minister Luke Ouellette, recently informed the 84th Street Access Association that Alberta Transportation will incorporate a flyover at 61 Avenue SE over the SE Stoney Trail project.

The association is viewing the news as only a small victory. The 100-member group, including about 25 trucking firms, was looking for a partial interchange, which would have provided access to and from traffic south of 61 Avenue SE.

“With the flyover in place, the SE Industrial Areas are definitely better off, but still are affected by a 3.2 – 4 km detour to get to and from many locations south of the Shepard area,” the associations says in a news release.

The Shephard Industrial Area was created along 84 Street SE in Calgary as a transportation industrial hub at the outskirts of Calgary, which would be integrated with the future Calgary Ring Road.

The SE Calgary ring road (Stoney Trail) will be built just east of the hub, with interchanges set for Peigan Trail, Glenmore Trail and 114 Avenue.

The 84th Street Access Association was formed earlier this year after a number of businesses located in the Shephard Industrial Area discovered two more interchanges — at 61 and 106 Avenues SE — had been deleted from the original plans.

After a series of meetings with MLAs, local politicians and Alberta Transport, the association was hopeful at least one of the interchanges could be put back into construction plans.

“The minister is still quoting design standards and best practices for interchange spacing as the rational for denying the ramps; however, our understanding is similar interchange spacing has been approved in many other locations along the Stoney Trail project, such as: Métis Tr., 52 Street SE, McKenzie Lake/Cranston Blvd. and Seton Blvd./Cranston Ave.,” says the association. “The association is not asking to compromise safety, we are only asking for the same consideration to the standards as these other access points have been granted.”

As it currently stands, construction of the flyover section is expected to begin in 2010, with completion expected by 2013.

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