Cardiff road traffic lights to be operational by fall

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by Tristan Turner

Morinville – Work will begin soon on a series of traffic lights at the intersection of Highway 2 and Cardiff Road. The new light-controlled intersection is being designed by Al-Terra Engineering, the company hired by the province to implement the lights promised last fall by former Minister of Transportation Ric McIver.

Al-Terra held an open house Thursday evening at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre to outline the project. The two-hour event provided residents with an overview of the project, including a simulation on how the lights would function based on projected traffic patterns at peak commuter times. Residents also had an opportunity to ask questions of project managers currently working on the project.

As planned, the project calls for six light posts throughout the intersection for the purpose of greater traffic safety. In addition to the new traffic lights, the intersection will also see a speed limit decrease from 100 kilometres per hour to 80 kph and new lighting, as well as two flashing amber warning lights in the northbound and southbound lanes on Highway 2. Al-Terra says the use of traffic lights allows the province to add a second turning lane for those turning south from Cardiff Road onto the highway, something that is included in the current project plan.

Al-Terra Project Engineer Wes Kennedy said the project is ready to get started and that Morinvillians can expect wait times of approximately one minute when turning onto Highway 2 from Cardiff Road after the lights are installed.

The project will cost the province approximately $1 Million and will begin sometime this spring with completion estimated by the end of September this year, according to information provided by the province and Al-Terra.

talkingMayor Lisa Holmes was present at the open house, and said she was pleased that the province was doing something to address the safety issues at the intersection. The mayor said she sees the installation as a short-term solution until an overpass or interchange is constructed: “I will always view this plan [to build traffic lights] as interim. I believe that with the amount of growth that we have and the safety concerns at the intersection that we still require an interchange in the next three to five years,” she said. “So, this is a great interim solution… I do think the intersection will be safer than it is today when this is built, but I look forward to step two, which is the interchange.”

Current Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec says she doesn’t know when the promised interchange will be constructed, but that it remains one of her top-priorities. “I really wouldn’t want to guess [when the interchange will be built], the sooner the better in my opinion,” the MLA said. “It’s my hope that it will happen within the next five years or something, but I don’t really want to put a number on it.”

Bryant Ralph, Operations Manager for Makloc Buildings in Morinville’s Industrial Park, is concerned the new lights will make it more difficult for him to move his company’s large modular buildings through the intersection. “The concern is that the light posts rotate in the direction that’s supposed to allow these long/wide loads,” he said, adding the 23-foot by 130-foot buildings leave on trailers with 200 tires hauling 750,000 pound. “The turn radius required by the trailers may not be accommodated by the lights.” Ralph also believes getting permits to turn the lights willbog down the process for his company. “I would like an overpass that is done and accommodates the needs of the businesses in the park,” he said.

The decision to install traffic lights at the dangerous intersection was made Nov. 19 of last year, eight months after the province announced the interchange promised by former MLA Ken Kowalski in 2011 was off the province’s three-year plan as a result of the 2013 budget.

Above: Attendees at Thursday night’s traffic light open house discussed their concerns with a representative from Al-Terra Engineering.

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14 Comments

  1. Could someone please provide approximately how many people attended the open house? Just wondering?

  2. what a waste of money. and does anyone else thing the putting traffic lights on a HIGHWAY is utterly ludicrous

    • It’s not an ideal solution but it’s not without precedent. I’m thinking of Devon, which is a good comparison, I think. Comparably sized town, major highway, and they have lights… and it seems to work just fine.

    • What’s crazy is how dangerous this intersection is and how long they took for action. Get over it. They are trying to make it better.

      • living here all my life i have had no trouble negotiating that intersection since i started driving over a decade ago. here is a simple and logistical solution. the problem people have with that intersection is the turning lane blocking the view of the highway. so instead of forcing people to try and stop on a major alberta highway, move the turning lane over 10 feet and create a separation between it and the highway

  3. Being born and raised in Morinville, I’m amazed how much road works planners love traffic lights as a solve all problems tool. I remember the first few day they opened the traffic lights at the main intersection in town. They had an accident! That sure helped. Somehow being use to stopping at a 4 way for years and years didnt stop someone from running a light and causing an accident. Id say stop wasting money build an overpass correctly. When I say build an overpass correctly, I mean do not build them like any of the ones on the Anthony Henday drive that have lights on them instead of cloverleaf interchanges. They had more than ample room to build cloverleaf interchanges on all of them. They must be retarded. Your lighted intersection is in my opinion a waste of time and money if they are still planning on building the bridge one day. Also on a side note put the speed limit on the road from cardiff road to morinville back up to 80 km/hr. Everyone hates it being at 60 and does 80 anyways.

  4. This is pathetic putting lights on a major highway is so stupid do u know what kind of log jam this is going to create in rush hour not to mention everyone trying to stop at highway speed in winter

  5. There is a method to their madness. Think about it, major highway, traffic lights, speed will have to be lowered on the approach to these lights, probably from 100 KPH down to 80 down to 60 KPH well before the lights giving plenty of room for the photo radar and red light cameras to catch all those nasty criminals! I see an arena / rec center out of this, with NO increase in taxes! All those nice folks from the entire area will be paying for a new complex! All in the name of SAFETY, of course. As it stands right now, if those lights go in, at a cost of over $ 1 million, the overpass project will be delayed for at least ten to fifteen years, maybe more. This is what the Provincial government wants, a temporary fix that will become permanent! This band aid solution will not work? I don’t see why the Government cannot expropriate the land required on the south east side at the entrance to Cardiff Road. It is not that big a piece of property that’s needed and it is a corner of the lot, not impeding on the use of the rest of the land by the owner! This would enable them to put in a separate right turn lane that would solve this whole problem until the overpass could be built! It is not a large piece of property needed and I’m sure they could get this land in the name of SAFETY!! The number of vehicles using this highway is increasing daily, I see the death rate going up at that intersection. Either correct the problem or leave it as is until it can be fixed properly!

    • A GREAT theory Bill, but the Provincial Government, which has jurisdiction on Hwy @, does not allow PHOTO radar. There MUST be a living, breathing PERSON manning the radar gun in order to catch speeders. You know, just like we advocated for in Morinville’s situation.

      That’s not to say there won’t be RCMP, Sheriff’s Office or Sturgeon County Peace Officers (I BELIEVE, but could be wrong, that the County has a jurisdictional agreement with the Province on this issue) lurking in the weeds to catch the really STUPID speeder. Oh wait, there ARE no weeds big enough to hide a cruiser, so anyone who doesn’t spot a law enforcement vehicle in the area REALLY deserves whatever he (or she – don’t want to raise the ladies ire by leaving them out!) get.

      All that to say: unfortunately, the Town of Morinville will not realize one penny from this highly dubious endeavour.

      Your other comments are, in my estimation, spot on.

      Perhaps you should be directing your efforts to the Wild Rose Party… Get THEM on-side and just maybe your ’10 to 15 years to never’ scenario will be considerably shortened. After all, there WILL be a Provincial election in another couple of years, right?

      Y’all enjoy the weekend, hear?

      • Thanks for the info, James. One question though. Hwy 642, going through Morinville, is owned by the province (according to the town) and yet, that is where most of the photo radar tickets came from in the early years! What’s the deal there?

        • As I understand it, we have a deal with the Province re: enforcement on that Hwy. More recently, the Town concluded another deal with the Province (the Hwy 642 Functional Planning Study, if my memory serves me correctly) which now allows developers to build one hell of a lot closer to the road than previously – thus the project going in at the West end of Town.

          In return for certain considerations, the Town has jurisdiction – Don’t worry though, the Province will always get its cut of the action!!

  6. Thanks Tristan for the information on how many attended. I was wondering what the response was from either our Mayor or Al-Terra on the concern of Bryant Ralph, Operations Manager for Makloc Buildings as I’m sure some of the other companies would have the same concerns. Hope that we wouldn’t lose businesses because of this “solution” as that would have an impact on taxes.

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