Calgary Ring Road update - frequently asked questions
About the Calgary Ring Road
- Why are you building the ring road?
The Calgary Ring Road is a good investment because it enhances the safe, efficient movement of goods and people in and around Calgary and reduces traffic congestion. As part of both the north-south and east-west trade corridors, the completed Calgary Ring Road will provide effective routes for commercial vehicles taking goods across the province or country, and to foreign ports.
- Although discussions go back much further, the Calgary Ring Road (CRR) was planned by the Government of Alberta and The City of Calgary more than forty years ago, in the 1970s. During the 1980s and 1990s the Province purchased most of the lands needed for the Transportation/Utility Corridor (TUC) around Calgary where the ring road would be built.
Calgary’s regional population has multiplied four times - currently estimated at 1.36 million in 2013 from 325,000 in 1974. Alberta’s population has more than doubled to four million today, compared to 1.68 million in 1974. Building this road is about planning for the future and the growth that is yet to come in this province.
- How long is the final leg of the Calgary Ring Road?
Currently, the ring road is 70 per cent complete. When finished, the ring road will offer motorists more than 101 kilometres of free-flow travel.
- How many kilometres does the road include and how many interchanges will there be?
The final leg of the Calgary Ring Road will cover about 31 kilometres between Highway 1 and Macleod Trail/Highway 22X. An additional 10 kilometres of connector road upgrades will be included in the Southwest and West CRR projects. The final leg of the Calgary Ring Road will include the construction or expansion of 20 interchanges (14 that will be built for the southwest portion and 6 for the west portion).
Building the Calgary Ring Road
- What are the next steps?
The federal government has implemented the agreement between the Tsuut’ina Nation and Alberta, as laid out in the land transfer agreement of November 27, 2013. Provincial Crown lands have been added to the Tsuut’ina Nation reserve and 1058 acres of former reserve land have been transferred to Alberta.
- Now that the land has been transferred, the GoA must complete the southwest section within seven years.
- Following the Request for Qualifications process, Mountain View Partners was selected as the preferred proponent and has begun some preliminary work, including utility relocation, in mid-July. Full construction will begin in Fall, 2016.
The Alberta government will continue to:
- Work with the Government of Canada (GoC) to determine the best way to handle land once used as a weapons testing range.
- Work with local residents, communities and businesses that may be impacted by the development.
- Why has the project been split into two separate segments?
In planning for the final section of the Calgary Ring Road, the GoA conducted market research – talking to developers, bankers and major construction firms worldwide – to gauge the interest in project of this size. The market research indicated that it would be more manageable to deliver the remaining section as two separate projects rather than as one.
Building the last leg of the ring road as two projects is expected to make the bidding process more competitive and allow contractors of all sizes to pursue the projects.
- What is included in the Southwest Calgary Ring Road (SWCRR) and West Calgary Ring Road (WCRR)?
The SWCRR will run between Highway 8 and Macleod Trail/Highway 22X and will include:
- 31 km of six and eight-lane divided highway
- 49 bridges, including crossings of the Elbow River and Fish Creek
- 1 rail overpass
- 14 interchange
- 9 km of six-lane divided highway
- 26 bridges,
- 6 interchanges:
- Valley Ridge Blvd NW/Highway 1 Interchange
- Highway 1 free-flow Interchange
- Old Banff Coach Road SW Partial Interchange *
- Bow Trail SW Interchange
- 17 Avenue SW Partial Interchange *
- Highway 8 free-flow Interchange
- 1 Avenue SW Transit and Pedestrian Underpass
- 3 km of TransCanada Highway upgrades west of the ring road
- 2 km of Highway 8 twinning
*Provides highway access in one direction only.
- When is the Southwest Calgary Ring Road expected to be completed?
Now that the land transfer with the Tsuut’ina has been finalized, the GoA must complete the southwest section within seven years, as required by the agreement.
The procurement process to select a contractor is about a year and once one is selected, it is expected to take about five years for construction. The SWCRR is scheduled to be open to traffic in the fall of 2021.
Other Ring Road Information
- How will environmental concerns be dealt with?
An Environmental Assessment was completed for the project. The Environmental Assessment identified potential environmental impacts of the project and mitigation measures. During construction the contractor will develop an Environmental Management System and Environmental and Construction Operations Plan to address all environmental issues on the project. Work will be carried out in accordance with federal and provincial regulatory requirements.
- Will pedestrian crossings be built so residents can safely cross the new ring road?
More than 30 pedestrian/pathway crossings are included in the West and Southwest Calgary Ring Road projects, as shown on the drawings posted on Alberta Transportation's website. There are also two proposed pedestrian bridges constructed as part of the SWCRR project:
- Over the Calgary Ring Road north of Anderson Road; and
- Over Anderson Road, east of the Calgary Ring Road.
Additionally, the 1 Avenue SW underpass, south of the TransCanada Highway will provide a pedestrian crossing beneath the Calgary Ring Road.
- How much traffic will there be on the southwest portion of the ring road?
The project will be designed and constructed to accommodate traffic volumes projected for the next 30 years, estimated to be between 80,000 and 100,000 vehicles per day on some sections. These traffic volumes would be similar to what is now travelling on Deerfoot Trail, north of Beddington Trail or south of 130 Avenue. Traffic levels on this new section of the ring road will vary, and will be dependent on what growth occurs in the Calgary area.
- Why does the project include partial interchanges at 130 Avenue SW and Sherriff King Road/6 Street SW? Can’t you provide all movements at these locations?
The interchange at 130 Avenue SW is too close in proximity to the full interchange at Anderson Road SW. A full interchange at this location would cause safety and operational issues on the ring road. It is a similar situation at Sheriff King Street/6 Street SW, where the interchange is too close to Macleod Trail SW to provide a full interchange.
- Why did the interchange at the 162 Ave SW go from a partial interchange to a full interchange? That wasn’t in the original plan.
After careful review following the last round of public consultations, we were able to adjust our plans to include a full interchange at 162 Avenue SW without impacting the safety and operation of the ring road.
- The planning for the project has been going on since the mid-1970s. Will the plans be updated to consider the flooding of 2013?
Alberta Transportation hired an independent river engineering expert to review the river crossings in the project with information from the 2013 flood event. The review confirmed that the proposed bridge structures can accommodate future flooding events of a similar magnitude. The proposed bridge designs will continue to allow the rivers to move within the valleys both upstream and downstream of the crossing locations.
- How will the Southwest Calgary Ring Road be built?
The province is moving forward on the construction of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road using a Design-Build-Finance-Operate (DBFO) procurement process. This method is the considered the best option to ensure the road is built and open to traffic within seven years, as committed to with the signing of the land transfer agreement with the Tsuut’ina. The DBFO model will also allow government to realize significant cost savings.
- How long did the Request for Qualification and the Request for Proposal processes take?
The province is moving forward on the construction of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road using a DBFO procurement process. This Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was issued and was open to contractors locally and around the world who would generally form a consortium for a project of this size. This RFQ process took three months to complete. A short-list of three proponents was invited to bid on the project through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process issued on September 18, 2015. This step took about nine months to complete.
Alberta Transportation then hired technical experts to help review proposals and ensure the contractor meets all technical requirements during construction.
- Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
The steps in the RFQ process include:
- Posting the an advertisement for the RFQ on the Alberta Purchasing Connection and making the RFQ documents available for purchase from Alberta Transportation’s Tender Administration Branch;
- Reviewing all proposals submitted by potential proponents; and
- Creating a short-listing of three potential proponents.
Potential proponents may be headquartered or operate in any part of the world and are made up of engineering, construction, financing and road maintenance companies.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
The three selected bidding consortia were invited to submit proposals for the project. The bid preparation process included:
- Outlining preliminary details of the design, including the roadway, bridges and other elements of the project;
- Outlining their management plan and schedule for the construction of the project;
- Detailing how they plan to provide partial financing for the construction of the project; and
- Outlining their management plan to operate, maintain and rehabilitate this segment of the Calgary Ring Road over the 30-year operations period.
Preparation, submission, and review of proposals took approximately nine months. All consortia submitting were required to meet all of the technical requirements before submitting a bid for the project.
Proposals were evaluated to determine if they represented value for money for the province compared to delivering the project using the traditional design-bid-build model. A proposal’s net present value, or its value in today’s dollars, is used to compare the proposals with each other and with the traditional delivery estimate.
Final Contract Award
- The Government of Alberta will award the contract to the qualified proposal with the lowest net present value.
- On June 22, 2016, Mountain View Partners was selected as the preferred proponent. The project reached financial close on September 13, 2016.
- Full construction will begin in Fall, 2016.
- Government will release the agreement and the contract value shortly.
What are some of the challenges of building such a major section of road?
Each segment of the ring road presents some unique construction challenges.
For the southwest segment:
- Determining, together with the Government of Canada, the best way to handle the land once used as a weapons testing zone.
- Obtaining environmental permits required for river crossings.
- Advancing major utility line relocations.
- Dealing with sensitive environmental areas.
- Accommodating traffic while work is underway.
- Working adjacent to residential communities.
How can I get more information as the project moves forward?
You can visit the SWCRR website where you will find up-to-date project and traffic information.