Residents, engineers discuss locations for semi-truck staging areas
By: Kimberley Massey
| Posted: Thursday, Oct 04, 2012 12:18 pm
Several area landowners voiced their concerns and provided feedback about proposed locations for a high-load semi-truck staging area that will soon be constructed in Rocky View, Sept. 26 at the GoldenRod Community Hall.
According to Paul Steel, a transportation engineer for EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd., a staging area is required to accommodate trucks with loads 5.3 metres or higher, as they must exit Calgary city limits by 6 a.m. and are not permitted to travel in the dark.
He said the information gathered at the open house will help the company determine the best of six potential locations, two of which are near Airdrie and four northwest of Cochrane.
“The open house went quite well,” said Steel. “We were looking to hear from residents about the pros and cons for each location and we feel we have enough information to go to the next stage of the study and select a location that would be preferable to both residents and the trucking industry.”
Landowner Cheryl Hardy, who lives near Range Road 44 and Weedon Trail west of Highway 22, came to get more information about one particular proposed location at the intersection of highways 567 and 22.
She voiced concerns about the impact the staging area could have on traffic flow and safety of drivers at the intersection, as well as where accesses would be located.
“There is an increased number of trucks and oversized trucks travelling through there and I worry about them trying to exit safely off of 567 onto 22 because people just don’t stop or obey basic driving rules,” said Hardy. “Just given the narrow width of Highway 567, they really need to address the fact that it’s not actually a safe width, especially for oversize loads. There are lots of things they need to take into consideration.”
She did, however, agree a staging area is needed somewhere in the region.
“I agree whole-heartedly that the trucks need a staging area,” she said. “It scares you half to death when you pop up over a hill and there’s a semi pulled off on the side of the road and you’re looking to see if you can get around them.”
Rocky View Councillor Lois Habberfield also attended and said, while there was a small turnout, those who came were all able to speak with the engineers and get the information they were looking for.
“The explanation being given by the consultants of the need for the corridor and the process is reasonable,” she said.
She said the majority of landowners recognized the need for the staging area and some were not opposed to having the staging area located on their land.
“I think that’s positive because if some want it and others don’t, that should make the selection easier,” she said. “That’s my wish, that we can get it somewhere that is the preferred site of the residents.”
“I found this open house very helpful,” said Hardy. “It looks like the engineers have done a lot of research and they are definitely trying to find the best option that will work for most people. This was very informative and they’ve tried to take into consideration the terrain and things like that, especially out west where it gets more hilly and there are some more challenges. It sounds like they are taking into account concerns from landowners and people who drive the highway, so I think as long as they’re willing to listen to those concerns, they probably have a pretty good handle on this.”
Steel added discussions with representatives of the trucking industry the evening before were also helpful.
“Our consultation with the trucking industry also went very well,” he said. “There was some very useful information that they provided.”
He said the company will now discuss options with Alberta Transportation before choosing a final location.
“The next step will be to sit down with Alberta Transportation and go through the information and feedback we have received to select a preferred location,” he said. “We will look at all six possible locations and discuss them as a group and see if there is one that stands out above the rest.”
The location will then be announced at a second open house, which the company hopes to hold in mid-November at Weedon Pioneer Hall.
Following the open house, the matter will be brought back to Rocky View council for approval.
For more information or to provide further feedback, contact Steel at 403-723-6881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org