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5 Street S.W. Underpass Enhancement


Project update - May 15, 2020

We expect construction on the 5 Street S.W. underpass enhancements to begin in early June 2020. In addition to these improvements, we’re also upgrading the 5 Street stormwater lift station, which will help protect the downtown from future flooding.

During construction, people will still be able to travel on 5 Street S.W.:

  • Signs will direct people where to walk
  • The cycle track will remain open
  • Some traffic lanes will remain open, with lane closures necessary at times to allow room for construction.

Due to the nature of construction, expect some delays. We expect to complete the underpass enhancements by the fall of 2020, followed by finishing upgrades to the lift station by the summer of 2021.


About the project

The 5 Street S.W. underpass offers a direct north-south connection between the communities of Beltline and Downtown Calgary. More than 43,000 people live and 161,000 people work in these two areas, where citizens come from all over the city to shop, dine, recreate and gather.

The design and construction include a number of improvements:

  • Widen sidewalks to provide more space and improve mobility
  • Upgrade crosswalks to meet current accessibility standards
  • Provide space for trees and vegetation to make the underpass more enjoyable and increase the number of trees within the Centre City
  • Improve lighting and safety measures
  • Make existing cycle track pilot permanent, maintain cycle counter, and improve comfort for people waiting at intersections
  • Narrow the traffic lanes within acceptable standards for vehicles, transit and goods movement
  • Ensure that traffic signals meet current operational standards
  • Make necessary life cycle improvements to the underpass walls and bridge
  • Beautify the appearance of the underpass
  • Remove the concrete median and redistribute the space for people walking trees/vegetation.

Improvements to this underpass, along with other underpasses connecting the downtown core with the Beltline, are part of major infrastructure investments to improve connections into Calgary’s downtown.

It is an important piece of The City’s Downtown Strategy, which supports and incentivizes private investment, generates visits and spending, and provides amenities and services to enhance the quality of life for people living and working in Calgary’s downtown.

Background on design and public engagement

Since 2018, the project team has worked closely with the public and nearby stakeholders through a public engagement process, to formulate a clear vision and goals for the underpass. Our vision is to transform an ordinary space into an extraordinary experience. This vision is supported by three goals:

  • improve options for travelling around downtown
  • provide safe and comfortable connections
  • improve the look and feel of the current underpass

Check out more of the project’s design and engagement history.

This enhancement project is part of the broader Centre City Underpass Enhancement Program, which aims to improve the pedestrian environment and connections between the Beltline and downtown Calgary, including cleaning up and brightening existing underpasses.

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Row Count: 3
ListCat: 5 St Underpass project
ID: 3761

Through a Request for Proposal (RFP) in 2017 and artist and design team was hired. The design team developed a concept that greatly improves the 5 Street S.W. underpass, while seamlessly integrating art into the design.

The concept is site-responsive and intends to remind us of the important relationship Calgary has to water, both past and present, while at the same time providing drivers, pedestrians and cyclists with a memorable and more enjoyable commute.​

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Row Count: 3
ListCat: 5 St Underpass project
ID: 3762

The City is also replacing the 5 Street S.W. stormwater pump station, as it is at the end of its service life. Construction timelines are being coordinated between underpass enhancements and pump station upgrades to minimize disruption to citizens and businesses during construction.​

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Row Count: 3
ListCat: 5 St Underpass project
ID: 3763

Built in the 1970s, the 5 Street S.W. underpass between 10 and 9 Avenues serves as a main gateway and key corridor for north-south movement between the communities of Beltline and downtown Calgary. Under normal circumstances the underpass' cycle track averages over 1,185 riders each day with as many as 2,500 riders during peak days, while more than 6,500 people walk through the underpass.

The site is unique due to its historical context of the site pre-settlement, the significance of the railway, adjacent land-uses, transportation, and local character.​


During construction, pedestrian movements will be maintained with signs directing people where to walk. One traffic lane will also be closed to allow crews to work on the pedestrian walkway. The City will ensure that the cycle track remains open throughout the project schedule. Traffic lane closures are being planned to minimize impacts to people driving in the area, however, some delays can be expected


  • 2018 - 2019: public engagement - COMPLETED
  • 2019 - 2020: final design - COMPLETED
  • Spring 2020: construction begins - UPCOMING
  • Fall 2020: completion of underpass enhancements
  • Summer 2021: Lift station completed


$7.85 million


As the project moves forward, we will provide updates about this project through this webpage. If you would like more information, please contact 311.