Work to improve Calgary’s Fifth Street SW underpass is now finished.

The underpass was redeveloped to have wider sidewalks, brighter lighting, upgraded crosswalks, new landscaping and beautification.

Crews also removed temporary cycle tracks and replaced them with permanent barriers.

The underpass connects the downtown to the Beltline and is used by nearly 6,500 pedestrians and 1,200 cyclists each day.

City officials say the redesign was done to improve safety and accessibility.

“These design and aesthetic improvements will help to enhance safety and create a more comfortable experience for the thousands of commuters that pass through each day,” City of Calgary project manager Colin Chapman said in a release.

The underpass is decorated with a new immersive art installation from Canadian artist Jill Anholt that represents Calgary’s relationship with water.

“Cast using fossilized ripple stone supplied by Rundle Rock (Kamenka) Quarry, the walls of the underpass are inspired by prehistoric times when this area was covered by an inland sea,” said a Thursday release.

“The sculptural elements, inspired by esker formations that were created by stream deposits once flowing below glaciers in this area, light up the area at night and divide the sidewalk from bike and traffic lanes.

“Both features commemorate the geological significance of the Bow and Elbow rivers and serve as a reminder of Calgary’s ancient water-related origins.”


Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott was among those who gathered at the underpass on Thursday to celebrate its reopening.

“This underpass demonstrates our city’s commitment to combining form and function with art,” Walcott said.

“It’s inspiring to see this important piece of infrastructure safely connecting Calgarians and creating a unique and enjoyable commuting experience.”

To learn more about the redevelopment you can visit the City of Calgary’s website.


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