Trail project paves way for part of future ring road

Work continues this summer on a multi-use asphalt trail and green belt to run along what will become 20th Avenue, part of a future ring road around Red Deer.

Work continues this summer on a multi-use asphalt trail and green belt to run along what will become 20th Avenue, part of a future ring road around Red Deer.

Wayne Gustafson, engineering services manager with the city, said the $4.5-million project, that runs 4.8 km from 55th Street to 19th Street, is in preparation for 20th Avenue that is scheduled for construction sometime between 2017 and 2025.

“We hope to have all of the trail done this year right through to 19th Street,” Gustafson said on Monday.

“The trail sometimes jumps up on top of the berm. We’re meandering that trail to take advantage of the various green spaces.”

The trail will connect to trails at Ross Street, 32nd Street, and the existing trail along 19th Street, east of 30th Avenue.

Construction of the trail and greenbelt began last August and Gustafson said parts of the trail are already being used by runners, walkers and cyclists.

“It helps create a bigger loop in that southeast area as part of the trail network. At the same time, it’s getting a jump on providing a bit of a buffer for the future construction of 20th Avenue.”

The green belt includes a vegetative retaining wall made of stacked bags filled with soil that varies in height depending on the elevation of the future roadway.

The wall will be sprayed with a grass seed mixture which will grow on the wall.

“It’s a bit of a pilot project that we’re utilizing to green up the retaining wall a little bit so it’s not just a concrete block wall. It will allow for the planting of trees and shrubs and grasses and various plantings inside the wall.”

He said the vegetative wall is more cost effective in terms of up-front capital costs, provides a better visual, and fits well with the city’s environmental initiatives.

The ring road, called the North Highway Connector Project, will be part of an expressway that will align Hwy 11A, Northland Drive, 20th Avenue and McKenzie Road when completed to reduce congestion on city arterial roads and improve traffic movement.

szielinski@www.reddeeradvocate.com

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