New look 8 Street S.W. Underpass now open
Thousands of Calgarians will experience greater safety and comfort when using the 8 Street S.W. underpass which fully re-opened to the public today.
“The 8 Street underpass is a crucial piece of infrastructure linking the Beltline with Downtown,” said Ward 8 Councillor Evan Woolley. “Hundreds of thousands of Calgarians use this underpass to get to and from work or school and I’m excited that they will now feel more welcome and safe in this great public space.”
Built in 1910 and located between 8 and 10 Avenue, the 8 Street S.W. underpass has served many generations of Calgarians. It was identified as a priority improvement area due to continued high usage, averaging nearly 9,000 pedestrians per day.
“As the first phase of the 8 Street S.W. Corridor Program, The City was focused on improving safety, doing necessary maintenance and brightening the underpass,” said Ben Barrington, Centre City Implementation Program Manager. “Users of the underpass will also enjoy a new beautiful space that includes digital public art.”
The $8.8 million project includes new sidewalks and guardrails, new LED lighting, maintenance and painting of retaining walls and structural beams, and the installation of security cameras and call boxes for safety.
A unique public art installation featuring a captivating new work by David Rokeby reflects the heritage character of the underpass. Taking the form of an S-curve design, similar to the curve of railway rails crossing, the work stretches from above one sidewalk to the other. LED panels, placed on both sides of the piece, will scroll information, strongly reminiscent of watching a train go over a bridge. Some content will specifically be railway-related, containing snippets and fragments of Calgary’s past.
This is the third underpass enhancement project recently completed by The City, including 5 Street S.W. and 1 Street S.W. In 2017 construction is expected to begin on improving the 4 Street S.W. underpass.
For more information visit www.calgary.ca/8stunderpass.