Recently, the city has approved a plan to upgrade the current Yellowhead Trail through Edmonton. The gist of the plan is to remove the existing at-grade intersections between 170 St and Victoria Trail, transforming the route into a fully limited access freeway within the city limits. Learning from the mistakes of the past, Edmonton city planners have considered much more interaction and input from the general public and businesses directly impacted by this plan.
The project is split up into five distinct parts: from west to east – 156 Avenue to St. Albert Trail, St. Albert Trail to 97 St, 97 St. to 82 St., 82 St. to 50 St, and 50 St. to Victoria Trail.
156 St to St. Albert Trail: The most major change in this section is the closing of the 149 St intersection. The current design will add frontage roads on the north and south side of Yellowhead Trail, though the through route of 149 St will be disconnected by the freeway.
St. Albert Trail to 97 St: In this section, the most major change will be the removal and reconfiguration of the 127 St, 121 St, and 107 St intersections. The final design is still being discussed by engineers and the public. I would imagine that entrances and exits will be at 121 St going westbound and 127 St going eastbound, with frontage roads connecting the closed accesses from Yellowhead Trail.
97 St to 82 St: The only at-grade intersection is with 89 St, which currently gives access to a frontage road and the businesses along it. As of this fall, the 89 St signal has been removed. The frontage road that connected 89 St will be expanded, with access currently from 82 St and 97 St. Some changes to the 97 St interchange involves widening of the truck turn aprons and reducing entrances to the freeway, rerouting onto the frontage roads first.
82 St to 50 St: Current plans call for the removal and/or reconfiguration of the 66 St intersection. A new frontage road will be built from 61 Ave all the way to Fort Rd, which will also consider access to 66 St. As of October 2019, a final design plan has been approved for building an overpass for 66 St. to maintain the north-south connection, while removing the freeway entrances from 66 St. to Yellowhead Westbound. Access to Yellowhead East will be maintained from 66 St. Accesses to alleyways and 67, 68 streets will be closed.
50 St to Victoria Trail: As this section is already freeway, an additional lane will be added to each direction to increase capacity. The interchange with Victoria Trail will be slightly reconfigured to account for the addition of new lanes.