The Town of Okotoks has recently annexed land in the southwest quadrant for future expansion. It is anticipated that development of this land, in addition to regional growth, will put additional strain on the existing infrastructure, more specifically the two existing bridge crossings at Southridge Drive and 32 Street.
Based on the current projections, the Town will require 6-lanes on the Southridge Drive bridge over the Sheep River. This study is to investigate an additional river crossing location to the west of Southridge Drive to alleviate the future strain on this crossing and eliminate the requirement for 6-laning the Southridge Drive.
Early in the project 3 potential corridors were identified and within those corridors, several alignment options. Through the preliminary analysis, 8 alternatives were identified and this was narrowed down to 4 alignment alternatives for the final evaluation.
The evaluation criteria included traffic alleviated from Southridge Drive, total travel time from the Highway 7 / Southridge Drive intersection to north of the curve on Highway 549, total earthworks volumes and total asphalt volumes.
A bridge planning assessment was also conducted. This identified Alternative 3a as an undesirable location with extensive river engineering and protection required making this alternative unfeasible. This also identified the other 3 locations as relatively equal in potential bridge cost, river protection requirements and environmental impacts.