Province approves left-hand turn
Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 06:00 am
Airdronians will no longer have to make a detour through the Co-op parking lot after the province approved the installation of a left-hand turn at the intersection of northbound Sierra Springs Drive and Yankee Valley Boulevard April 13.
The decision came after years of lobbying by the City of Airdrie and a visit last month by Minister of Transportation Brian Mason, according to Mayor Peter Brown.
“I’m going to say that this was due solely to the minister’s ability to come to Airdrie…We worked with other ministers – and no disrespect to them – over the previous last five years and never left with any kind of results,” he said. “I will say due to our tour of Airdrie and him seeing first-hand some of the challenges that we face down at that area of the community that he made this happen.”
Mason said the tour he took while in Airdrie March 27 propelled him to move forward with getting the left-hand turn approved.
“I want to say that what really clinched it for me…was when in order to get back on Yankee Valley…we had to cut through the Co-op parking lot and go over all the bumps there in order to get back to a place where we could actually make a left-hand turn onto the road,” he said. “To me, this is about (making) the best use of our roadway infrastructure. How do city roads, municipal roads and provincial roads interact? How do we co-operate together in order to make life more convenient for people?”
Approval from the province was required to install a left-hand turn at the intersection because the land is under provincial jurisdiction, according to Lorne Stevens, the city’s director of community infrastructure. According to Mason, the province previously held off installing the change because of safety concerns.
“Safety is obviously the top priority. We can monitor this and see if it has any negative impacts on traffic safety on the highway and if that’s the case, we’re going to have to revisit it,” he said. “It seems to me that it’s a better approach that we go ahead with this and if there’s a problem we can look at that.”
Brown said the city has also had discussions with the province about other transportation infrastructure needs.
“We were working on different initiatives to move forward with some opportunities to access and exit off of (Highway 2) and also we’ve discussed opportunities to move forward with some steps to work with our development community in making sure that we’re doing everything from our end to make the 40th Avenue overpass and opportunity in the future,” he said.
For Airdrie Wildrose MLA Angela Pitt, the decision was a “no-brainer.”
“I am so pleased. (The intersection) obviously fell in such a weird provincial territory within our city,” she said. “I’m so happy to finally see this done. I remember people making fun of me for having this as a priority.”
Stevens said city administration will bring design plans and estimated costs to city council mid-May. He anticipates the work will be completed by the end of summer and estimates a price tag of approximately $250,000.
“This was a council priority that was unanimously supported, I think going back to last year,” Brown said. “The money will come from some existing grants. Potentially there could be some tax dollars used but we haven’t gone into that detail yet.”