As the new 40th Avenue interchange draws closer to opening this October, commuters on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway are being warned they may need to have some additional patience in the coming month, as one lane on both the northbound and southbound routes will be shut down for most of the day to allow for high mast lighting installation in the median in the immediate area of the overpass.
Adam Carroll, project manager for the City of Airdrie’s capital project office, which is overseeing the overpass construction, said the temporary lane closure is for the safety of workers and technicians who must cast the base of the high masts in place, install the masts themselves, and electrify them.
According to Carroll, the major work will be done between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., after the morning rush hour traffic and before the evening rush hour traffic, to minimize the disruption of daily traffic as much as possible.
“(The lane closure) is strategically planned to accommodate the volumes on the highway,” said Carroll, who confirmed the 80 kilometre-an-hour zone will continue to be enforced to protect workers’ safety.
Carroll said the daily lane closures should be the last remaining hurdle as crews work to complete the 40th Avenue interchange project on time by October.
“Everything to date, we are on budget, on schedule, on scope,” he confirmed. “We are in a good spot, which means we are going to be open in October 2023.”
According to Carroll, the CP Rail bridge has been successfully twinned and is open to traffic. The storm pond on the southeastern corner of the project was also successfully completed this past winter. Crews are currently working on saw cutting on the overpass itself to place utilities prior to final paving, which should be completed later this summer.
“As far as the QEII bridge is concerned, concrete pours are finished,” he said. “We are ramping up placement of all of the earthworks on either side of the QEII bridge, which will allow us to start us to get ready for paving, which will start in August of this year.”
After that, said Carroll, there will just be the finishing touches needed before the entire project will be able to undergo a final safety audit. Once that audit is complete and the auditor is satisfied, the City has made its final safety adjustments, the 16-year journey of the interchange project will finally come to its end.
“After that, the intention is just to pull the barricades down and open it to the public,” he stated.
According to Carroll, from his perspective, seeing the project take shape over the last three years as project manager, and then looking ahead with anticipation to the positive impact it will have on traffic flows from Airdrie onto the QEII after October, is very exciting.
“To see it come out of the ground every day for the last three years has been quite rewarding,” he said.