Alberta Trans-Canada Highway History around and through Calgary
In Calgary, Highway 1 is follows 16 Avenue North for 27 km (17 mi) and is maintained by the City of Calgary. Certain stretches of 16 Avenue drive like a freeway or expressway (east of Deerfoot Trail), while other stretches drive like an urban arterial road, particularly between Bow River and Bowness Road and between Crowchild Trail and Deerfoot Trail where there are numerous at-grade intersections. As a result, speed limits on 16 Avenue North drop as low as 50 km/h (31 mph).
When the Trans-Canada route was built, a triangular section of land at the junction of Crowchild Trail (now Highway 1A) in the city's northwest was developed into Motel Village with a number of motels (and now also several hotels) accessible to drivers on the highway.
Certain stretches of 16 Avenue N function as either a freeway or an expressway, while other stretches function as an urban arterial road, particularly between Bow River and Bowness Road and between Crowchild Trail and Deerfoot Trail where there are numerous at-grade intersections. As a result, speed limits on 16 Avenue N drop as low as 50 km/h (31 mph).
The recently completed northwest and northeast legs of Stoney Trail (Highway 201) Ring Road provide an alternate higher speed route across the city, though it will not be until 2025 before the ring road is completed around all parts of the city. If travelling cross-town around or during rush hour, travelers not wishing to stop over in Calgary are recommended to use the ring road. The higher speeds of traffic more than make up for the greater distance travelled,
In the west end of Calgary, just east of the Stoney Trail Bypass junction, is construction of a new interchange at Bowfort Road which provides access to Canada Olympic Park (COP), a major recreational area and tourist site to the south. This new interchange will allow through traffic to pass the intersection unimpeded. This construction is expected from 2015-2017.
Lake Chestermere is a slough (pond) which provides irrigation to farmlands east of Calgary, called the Western Irrigation Block. When the CPR came to the area, the area east of Calgary was called "the Palliser Triangle," which was a low-precipitation zone (receiving under 30 cm a year) stretching east to the Saskatchewan border, which made farming very difficult. The area had severe droughts in the 1880s and the 1930s.
In 1903 the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) received title to 1,215,000 hectares (3 million acres) of arable land on the rail line between Medicine Hat and Calgary, as final payment from the Dominion of Canada for the construction of the national railway.
In 1907, to increase farmland sales, the CPR built a dam and canal system from the Bow River (just east of the Calgary Zoo), and the wetland at Chestermere was developed into a lake. Farmers were then able to use the water for irrigation, making farming in the area not just possible but profitable.
Eastern Irrigation District
Over the years, cabins along the lakeshore made it a popular summer resort village close to Calgary. The village added a golf course, a sailing club, and for a time a waterslide park (t closed in . Each fall, the canal and lake levels are dropped, and any fish in the waterway moved to deeper waters, so they do not freeze in winter.
The Trans-Canada east of Calgary originally travelled along 9th Avenue through Inglewood and along 17th Ave SE to Chestmere and then beyond.
In 1953, the Trans-Canada Highway was re-aligned along 16th Avenue and then north around Lake Chestermere in 1953, to leave room for the community of Chestermere (then a summer village, now a city) to expand south of the highway
Calgary ByPass (2017)
There have been many false-starts over the years, most recently in the 1980s, Country Hills Boulevard was intended as the ring road, but rapid urban expansion and home-building on both sides of the planned path quickly limited room to build a high speed expressway. That route is now a 4-lane roadway with lots of traffic signals
The current Stoney Trail path began in the city's northwest as a plan to speedily connect airport traffic to Banff, as well as traffic to/from the provincial capital, and divert it away from the congested Deerfoot Trail and 16th Avenue routes. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Province purchased most of the lands needed for the Transportation Utility Corridor around Calgary where the ring road would be built.
Now collectively known as Stoney Trail, the 6-lane route was first built in the northwest (with some underpass/overpass improvements since initial construction) in the early 2000s, and the northeast/southeast bypass with 21 kilometres of new four and six lane divided freeway and six interchanges was opened in 2009. The NE/SE route provided a handy bypass for north-south through traffic around the city's always-busy Deeerfoot Trail.
The Southwest section (from Highway 2 to Glenmore Trail/Highway 8) passes through Tsuut'ina (Sarcee) Nation land, west of the city's Glenmore Reservoir, for which an agreement was reached in 2013, for which construction will begin in 2017. This section will incorporate 31 km of six and eight lane divided highway, one roadway flyover, one railway crossing (flyover), 49 bridges, including bridges over the Elbow River and Fish Creek, and 14 interchanges.
The West section, from Glenmore Trail/Highway 8 to the Trans-Canada running west of 69th Street SW. This route will incorporate 9 km of six- and eight-lane divided roadway, 24 bridges, and 6 interchanges. The last section to be completed will be between Highway 8/Glenmore Trail and the Trans-Canada Highway, connecting with the norhwest section of Stoney Trail just west of Canada Olympc Park (pictured at right)
More Trans-Canada Highway History← West
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Trans-Canada Itinerary Segment Map
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