CALGARY, Alta. — A European-style roundabout will replace the intersection of Highways 8 and 22 west of Calgary, marking the first time that type of intersection will be used on a rural highway in Alberta.
The $4.3-million roundabout will be similar to traffic circles found in urban areas. Drivers reduce speed as they approach the roundabout and must yield to vehicles already in the circular lane. Drivers then enter the circle and travel in a counter clock-wise direction until exiting the circle to their right.
Construction is expected to begin later this year and the roundabout is expected to open to traffic in the fall of 2007. The Alberta government chose the roundabout option because a full interchange is not required for at least two decades, while traffic signals would serve the intersection for only five years.
“The roundabout is an innovative, cost-effective approach to this increasingly busy intersection,” said Ted Morton, MLA for Foothills-Rocky View. “The new intersection will improve traffic flow and safety for motorists.”
Approximately 7,000 vehicles per day use Highways 8 and 22 near their junction and government officials say that the roundabout will offer numerous advantages including eliminating left turns across traffic and the need to cross two lanes of highway-speed traffic; fewer conflict points, lower collision potential and lower collision severity compared with traffic signals; and it will accommodate projected traffic for the next 25 to 30 years and the future twinning of Highways 8 and 22.
The roundabout will also cost less than the $20 million it would require to install and interchange at the intersection.
Ty Lund, Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, said infrastructure improvements increase the safety and efficiency of the highway network.
“The Alberta government is always seeking innovative ways to do business and the roundabout is an example of using an alternative approach,” he stated.
In addition to the roundabout, improvements will be made to the intersections of Highway 8 with Range Road 35 and Range Road 41. The $570,000 worth of improvements will aim to make turning on and off Highway 8 easier and safer.
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