An expressway, like a freeway, is a high-capacity roadway with a relatively high speed limit. However, an expressway includes widely spaced, signalized intersections for access compared to interchanges for a freeway. Manning Drive is a local example of an expressway while Whitemud Drive is a local example of a freeway.
Find answers for the most frequently asked questions about the Terwillegar Drive upgrade to an expressway.
In 2018, the expressway solution was developed to address public feedback, direction from City Council, and to balance technical requirements and project costs. On October 2, 2018, the City’s Urban Planning Committee voted unanimously to advance only the expressway plan for Terwillegar Drive.
The draft plan includes 3 stages of upgrades.
Stage 1 includes widening Terwillegar Drive to 4 lanes in each direction (3 for motor vehicles and 1 for transit), intersection improvements and a new shared pathway. A new pedestrian and cyclist bridge crossing Whitemud Drive at approximately 142 Street is also planned.
The details and limits of the stages are shown in the Proposed Expressway Draft Plan.
The corridor currently accommodates up to 40,000 vehicles per day. The expressway upgrades will provide for improvements to travel times and congestion comparable to those of a freeway. The provision of dedicated travel lanes will also help to decrease vehicle congestion and improve the overall capacity of Terwillegar Drive for all users.
Stage 1 includes a new shared-use path on the east side of Terwillegar Drive which includes connections across the major intersections and to existing commercial and residential areas. A new pedestrian/bicyclist bridge over Whitemud Drive is proposed. The location of the pathway and bridge are shown in the Proposed Expressway Draft Plan.
A noise assessment was conducted to provide an estimate of current and future noise levels along Terwillegar Drive. The projected future noise levels consider the projected increase in traffic volumes as a result of the planned upgrades.
Noise mitigation is considered when the projected noise levels in residential backyards exceeds 65 dBA on average, in accordance with the City's Urban Noise Policy. For this project, these noise levels are anticipated to increase between 1 and 5 dBA along Terwillegar Drive over the next 30 years, corresponding from a low to moderate increase in perceptible noise.
However, the overall noise levels are expected to remain below the City’s noise policy threshold, requiring no noise mitigation to reduce noise levels.
Terwillegar Drive has been named as one of the City projects awarded Provincial funding through the Alberta Community Transit (ACT) fund. This funding will contribute towards dedicated transit lanes and enhanced bus stops on Terwillegar Drive, a pedestrian/cyclist bridge over Whitemud Drive, a shared pathway and the purchase of electric buses to provide a rapid transit service once Stage 1 is complete.
Planning and design of Stage 1 is well underway and construction is anticipated to begin in 2020 or 2021 and will take 2 to 3 years to complete.
Planning and design of Stage 2 will start in 2019 and Stage 3 is currently under development.
The timeline for construction of Stages 2 and 3 will depend on funding availability, potentially in the next Capital Budget cycles, 2023-2026 and 2027-2030.
City Council has approved funding for Stage 1 which is estimated to be $101.3 million, including planning and design.
City Council has also approved $12 million towards planning and design of Stage 2 upgrades.
The cost of stages 2 and 3 are currently estimated to be $140 million and $60 million.
The Province of Alberta has committed $24.6 M through the Alberta Community Transit (ACT) fund for various components of the project, including transit lanes, bus stops, the 142 Street pedestrian/cyclist bridge, planning work for Stage 2 improvements and electric buses.
Construction impacts and staging are currently being assessed and developed. Pre-construction information will be shared closer to the start of construction.
The City is assessing impacts to existing trees, particularly along the east side of Terwillegar Drive where the shared pathway is planned. The City will aim to minimize or eliminate impacts to existing trees though the design process. Any tree impacts will be offset with additional tree planting. The City is also considering additional tree planting on the corridor as part of Stage 1.
Adaptive traffic signal controls, or smart signals, are a technology which allows traffic signal timings to be adjusted in real time based on actual traffic flow conditions. The City is currently assessing the use of this technology on Terwillegar Drive.