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A Case Study in Innovation – 26 Avenue Roundabout


Governments, consulting engineers, and the development community have
a shared responsibility to set attainable goals and work together to understand the
opportunities and challenges of sustainable design. Through a collaborative effort that
included many stakeholders, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) led the
development of a unique and innovative roundabout solution as part of their off-site East
Village works in downtown Calgary. Working within numerous constraints and the
boundaries defined by the project objectives, a multi-lane roundabout design was
developed that included 2 lines of heavy rail through the centre of the circulatory roadway.
To our knowledge, this is the first roundabout in North America that includes multiple
heavy rail lines through the central island and circulatory roadway.
The project need originated from the relocation of over 12,000 feet of rail siding in order to
facilitate the construction of an underpass crossing of the Canadian Pacific Railway in
downtown Calgary. The relocated siding yard was moved to an industrial area of Calgary
called Manchester. The Manchester area is adjacent to an established community and
the connecting roadways and intersection where the roundabout was built provide a direct
and well used transportation linkage between Blackfoot Trail, a major arterial roadway,
and the downtown core.
Designed and constructed in an extremely tight timeframe, this paper describes some of
the challenges and opportunities unique to the development of this innovative project. It
describes accounting methodologies that were considered in evaluating baseline and
design alternatives in terms of sustainability. The project needed to satisfy the traditional
criteria expected of transportation facilities including maintaining safety for all road users,
enhancing mobility, respecting development patterns and plans for adjacent properties,
and engaging local communities through a public information session.
The 26 Avenue roundabout project demonstrates the creativity of consulting engineers
and the progressive philosophies of the CMLC, CP Rail, and City of Calgary which all
collaborated to consider and develop innovative solutions that challenged conventional
thinking. Leveraging the experience, skill, and input of the team, this project resulted in
increased value for the CMLC, CP Rail, and City of Calgary, and improved sustainability
through reduced impacts on the environment compared to other conventional intersection

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Glen Furtado
Chris Ollenberger
Geometric design