By David F. Rooney
The worst intersections in the city — the complex junctions of Mutas Road, Frontage and Wright Street with Victoria Road near the Trans-Canada Highway — is a step closer to getting fixed with City Council’s approval of design changes aimed at easing its congestion and confusion.
Council is hoping that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will allow it to install a traffic light at the CPR overpass, thereby slowing down and controlling the buildup of traffic on Victoria Road. The light would be synchronized with the existing lights on the Trans-Canada at Victoria Road and Highway 23S. However, this is not an option that MOTI may like. Officials with McElhanney Consulting Services said MOTI may not approve that kind of set up. However, it might cost only $300,000 to do. The City had originally estimated that its construction costs would come in at $1.2 million. But that is
“The 2016 capital plan has $1.2 million allocated for this project, funded from DCCs and specific contributions from neighbouring developments,” Engineering and Development Services Director Mike Thomas said in a report to Council. “The City had submitted a grant application under the Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund for $1.2 million which was unsuccessful. City staff will continue to investigate funding opportunities, including MOTI and ICBC while finalizing the design and construction cost estimate.”
However McElhanney says the real cost is closer to $2.1 million. After two hours of discussion Council decided during a special meeting on Wednesday, May 4, that it will build the roundabout this summer — but only if MOTI turns down the third traffic light option — with the construction of new turn lanes into the Mutas complex with its MacDonald’s, A&W, Petro Canada and Starbucks outlets and new lanes to and from Tim Hortons, Shell and the Super 8 Motel.
Here’s what McElhanney has to say about construction:
“We have assessed the risk for only completing part of the roundabout construction before the winter snowfall ends the construction season. The risk is directly related to schedule, so we have created a fast-tracked Phase 1 schedule with 3-4 weeks of float during design and construction as a contingency measure. Obtaining approval by May 2 is critical to completing Phase 1 construction this year. The following schedule is intended to mitigate the risk associated with completing only a portion of the roundabout.”
|City approval for roundabout||May 2|
|Roundabout tender||June 20|
|Tender start||July 4|
|Tender close||July 25|
|Commence construction||August 1|
|Construction complete||October 31|
“There are a number of advantages with completing the roundabout this year. It allows drivers to become accustomed to the roundabout prior to the medians being installed. The Victoria/Wright St intersection has comparatively low volumes, so construction can take place in late summer, and there is sufficient room for detours around the construction site.”