The 11-kilometre, $100-million Deerfoot Trail extension opened near Calgary last week. The four-lane highway took three years to build and includes two 240-metre bridges across the Bow River. One, the Bow River Bridge, has the largest pre-cast girders in the world, measuring 65 metres in length and weighing 120,000 kilograms each. A wildlife underpass was also constructed to allow animals to move freely under the highway, and a long stretch of fencing was erected to stop wildlife wandering onto the road.
Several consulting engineering firms were involved in designing and overseeing construction of the new extension, including UMA Engineering, AMEC Infrastructure and AMEC Earth and Environment (Oliver Laser), Earth Tech Canada (Aziz Merali), EnviroConsult and Associated Engineering (John Fussell, P.Eng).
The Deerfoot Extension forms part of the Calgary portion of the North-South Trade Corridor which stretches from the Alberta-Montana Border at Coutts, to the Albert-British Columbia border west of Grande Prairie. The twinning of the 1,175 kilometre corridor is expected to be substantially completed by 2011.
The provincial government funded almost 100 per cent of the project.
Deerfoot Trail was named after Api-Kai-ees, a Siskika (Blackfoot) long distance runner from the 1880s who went by the name of Deerfoot. He died in 1997 and was recognized over a century later with a 1998 award in the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.