“Citizens have said that safety and cleanliness are the most important elements in the use of city spaces,” said Ben Barrington, Centre City Implementation Program Manager. “This project addresses these concerns by not only doing the necessary maintenance but adding visual interest through design elements and public art. We want users to see this space not only as a pedestrian connection but to also enjoy the interesting artistic and design features.”
The 8 Street S.W. underpass was chosen as a high priority area to be improved due to the high pedestrian usage (8,700 pedestrians per day) and as a link between the Beltline and Downtown. It has been identified as a space that requires much needed renovations to provide users with increased safety and comfort.
The 8 Street S.W. Underpass Enhancement project is an outcome of two City plans: the Centre City Plan and the 8 Street S.W. Corridor Public Realm Master Plan, and is the first phase of the 8 Street S.W. Corridor improvements. The scope of work includes design and construction of underpass enhancements consistent with the Master Plan, such as construction of new sidewalks, concrete surfaces, LED lighting, public art, and repairs and maintenance of upper and lower retaining walls.
Crews will repaint the bridges and retaining walls in reflective white to make the area brighter, and will construct a public art installation between the two bridges. The bridges themselves will be cleaned and repainted but the steel girder structures will not change.
The budget for this project is $8.8 million and substantial completion of the enhancements is anticipated for the end of 2015. Final construction elements (ex. landscaping) will be done in the spring of 2016.
This project will result in some underpass pedestrian and road restrictions and closures. Starting Wednesday, July 15, the east side pedestrian walkway of the 8 Street S.W. underpass will be closed between 8 Avenue and 10 Avenue until the enhancements on the east side are completed. During this time, pedestrians will need to use the west side pedestrian walkway. One lane of northbound vehicle traffic will also be closed during construction on the east side.
When the enhancements on the east side are completed and it is opened to the public, the west side pedestrian walkway (as well as one lane of southbound vehicle traffic) will be closed until those enhancements are finished.
For more details about the project, go to www.calgary.ca/8stunderpass.