July 12th, 2024

Lane reduction coming to Whoop-Up

By Justin Sibbet - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on June 28, 2024.

Herald photo by Justin Sibbet Whoop-Up Drive will be reduced to two lanes on the westbound side of the bridge this summer as a $1.9 million rehabilitation project begins. Minor work will also be conducted on the eastbound side in July.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDjsibbet@lethbridgeherald.com

This summer will see westbound Whoop-Up Drive dropping to two lanes as an estimated $1.9 million rehabilitation project begins.

Starting on Tuesday, just after the long weekend, the inside lane of westbound Whoop-Up will be shut down as crews begin concrete deck surface repairs. The work will be completed in stages, moving to the centre lane and eventually the outside lane by the end of August.

Richard Brummund, road infrastructure manager with the City of Lethbridge, says the work will involve crews fixing worn out areas of the bridge to help bring additional longevity to one of the city’s main arteries.

“On the surface there will be sores or repairs required,” said Brummund. “(Crews) kind of hammer out the (bad) concrete then they pour new concrete to kind of fill the voids and stuff underneath to prolong the life of the bridge.”

As for why the City chose to do this work in the summer, Brummund says fewer residents travel along the bridge during the upcoming two months than in other the other 10.

“During July and August, when school’s not in, (there is) less traffic and that helps us (have) less impact on the traffic.”

He says there is really never a good time to shut down a lane, but this specific plan will only see a single lane shut down at any given time because of the multi-phase approach.

“There will be always two lanes (open),” said Brummund. “Although just two lanes, of course, is still (congestion causing).”

As a result, he says the City of Lethbridge is hoping drivers will play their part in reducing headaches for all.

“We promote the zipper merge.”

The City said in a news release other ways residents can help include leaving early to ensure any potential delays cause minimal frustration, reducing speeds and following all posted signage and traffic controls.

Brummund says the speed limit on Whoop-Up Drive will drop to 60 kilometres per hour, with the specific work zone slowing to 50 kilometres per hour.

“What that does is help traffic in a congested area drive safer.”

He says this enables commuters to reduce stress, but also keep work crews safe.

“We really promote making a safe workplace for our workers so they can go home at the end of the evening.”

The City says 90 per cent of the project will be comprised of the concrete surface repairs, but there will be some work done on the west approach slab as well, which will involve some work during the night.

Furthermore, to ensure a strong flow of traffic remains, Brummund says the City has worked with the province to time out construction intelligently by keeping the highway bridge fully open while this job is underway.

“We encourage people to… use alternative routes,” said Brummund.

Digital signage will be in place throughout the duration of the project and the City of Lethbridge web map will have more information as well as updates as construction progresses.

The City also says there will be guardrail work completed on the eastbound side of the bridge in late July.

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