Residents of the City of Airdrie and Rocky View County (RVC) got their first look at plans for an interchange at Highway 2 and 56 Avenue during a Feb. 8 open house at Genesis Place Recreation Centre.
While construction of the interchange is up to 10 years away, Bob Neale, team leader of Engineering Services said it was important to begin planning for the interchange now.
“The purpose of the functional study is to configure the interchange but also to know what the footprint is so we can protect the land. As development is encroaching – and it’s starting to get there – (ensuring) we’re not going to put a car dealership or something right in the middle that we’re going to have to buy out later (is important). This will create opportunity to bring this thing to fruition,” he said.
Neale said construction of the interchange was not likely to be even considered until at least 2026-27. He said he anticipated construction of an interchange at Highway 2 and 40 Avenue will be completed prior to work commencing on this interchange.
The open house was held jointly with RVC and organized by Alberta Transportation. Neale said construction of highway interchanges is a provincial responsibility.
The interchange planned for 40 Avenue is a partial interchange – only allowing traffic to head south onto Highway 2 from Airdrie and to exit Highway 2 northbound into Airdrie. The 56 Avenue interchange would be a full interchange, allowing traffic to flow in all directions. According to Neale, Alberta Transportation determines where full and partial interchanges will be placed, based on a number of factors, including existing environmental concerns.
“There was another study done – a corridor study of Highway 2 from Airdrie to the Calgary city limits – that identified locations where there could be full interchanges and partial interchanges,” he said.
Gurbir Nijjar, municipal engineer with RVC, said the interchange has been flagged in the county’s planning.
“It can change on the way that it develops,” he said. “The idea right now is to establish requirements for right-of-way costs, alignment, all that kind of thing. Right now, there’s no funding in place. If endorsed by the minister, the county could add this to our levy system. As developers develop land, they’ll contribute to the overall project.”