Further to my thoughts from the CP yards thread, I wanted to flush out my ideas for Gateway Drive a bit more.
Short term, ideally within the next 5 years, grade separate 34 av from gateway and Calgary trail. Providing free flow access up to the inner ring road is an excellent first step.
As this interchange would have to be modified when free flow gateway extends north of whitemud, it could be built similar to the 37 st / glenmore interchange in calgary.
For those not familiar, this was recently done as an interim solution while the final routing of SW stoney is decided. As such it was built for 15 - 20 year lifespan. Roughly the time frame of the CP yards being vacated...
And for those frightened by the 23 av fiasco, this should be fairly cheap, 20 mil or less. Some info on the Calgary interchange:
As for the long term, my idea involves acquiring the properties between gateway and the CP tracks, from 34 av to 63 av, using this area to expand the rail ROW, and build a 6 lane free flow road, with interchanges at 34 av, whitemud, 51 av and 63 av.
On the CP yard lands, from 68 av north, build a cut and cover tunnel for 6 lane gateway, as well as dual line HRT.
HRT tunnel would continue to high level bridge, while gateway would exit into the river valley, across a twinned walterdale bridge into rossdale.
Allow for on/off ramps to the tunnel at 82 av, as well as a potential underground HRT station, and redevelop the rail lands as mid density residential.
Length of all tunnel required is less than 2.5 km, and could be paid for in part by a per use toll.
Calgary trail would be converted to two way traffic to provide local access, and additional HRT stops could be added to develop TODs on the gateway corridor.
Once north of the river, some changes to existing roads will be required to accommodate the change to two way traffic, something to plan for before redevelopment in rossdale proceeds further.
Along with changes in rossdale, realign and rename 98 av with river valley road. This would be a 4 lane road with lane control from groat road to greztky drive. Not a freeway, more along the lines of memorial drive between crowchild and center st in calgary.
Separately, 97 st from yellowhead to AHD could be renamed Gateway Drive North, and upgraded to free flow. This is the only real option for creating a free flow road between all three ring roads on the north side.
Between yellowhead and river valley road, I think the existing distributed road grid works quite well with several main paths. (97 st, 101 st, 109 st)
Quick pic of gateway south:
And the map on google:
I realize this is a fairly huge undertaking, and as far as road projects are concerned, I think this corridor should fall behind yellowhead and gretzky for improvements.
However, I do think that Edmonton deserves to have one free flow road into the city center. It may take 20 years or more to get there, but having a solid plan in place now will help manage expectations, and steer infill development in the right direction.