By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The long-awaited Cardiff Road overpass project is progressing nicely since the province announced the infrastructure project in June. Detours along Cardiff Road and 100 Street in Morinville have opened up the area for preparatory work. Residents will have their first real opportunity to see designs of the overpass and related road ways Dec. 12 during a public information session at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre .
Alberta Transportation has retained Al-Terra engineering to construct the overpass and the engineering firm will be on hand Monday to outline the project and answer questions about the same.
Al-Terra Project Manager Sheldon Hudson said his company will have storyboards set up to outline the scope and explain the history of the project. “We always try to build an interchange that will accommodate future growth, and then you back off to what you actually need today,” Hudson explained, noting the present need is to deal with the flow of traffic entering and exiting Highway 2 at Cardiff Road while longer-term plans would connect the interchange to the northern boundary of a West Regional Road, something that was identified in an ISL Engineering and Land Services study of Highway 2 a few years ago. “That’s where we’ve picked up from. We’ve taken a look at the intersection at Cardiff Road. We felt it was appropriate to design and build an interchange at that location now because of the heavy turning movements on Highway 2.”
Hudson said the Dec. 12 meeting will give the public a look at where the project is at today compared to the original study. One of the things that has changed is the design of the overpass itself. “ISL had proposed an interchange configuration called a diamond,” Hudson said. “That’s where all of the ramps go up to Cardiff Road with Cardiff road going over [Hwy. 2].
Our configuration is the same with the exception that we have a loop in the northwest quadrant. So if you are coming from either Cardiff or Morinville on Cardiff Road, and you are heading to St. Albert, you’ll go west on Cardiff Road, go around the loop under the bridge and merge with Highway 2 going south.”
But the addition of a loop to the overpass is not the only change in Al-Terra’s vision. Hudson said the engineering designs include a roundabout at the intersection of 100 Street and Cardiff Road. “We think it [the roundabout] provides a very efficient way to move traffic through that intersection because it is so busy,” Hudson said, adding it will also help eliminate noise by keeping traffic moving instead of stopping and starting. “I think it is a very positive additive to the project.”
Residents will have the opportunity to see just what the roundabout and overpass will look like during the information sessions as well as have a chance to provide some input. Hudson said a sign in sheet and comment sheet will be on hand for people to provide that input. “Those of us who will be in attendance at the meeting will also be able to take notes,” he said. “Absolutely, if somebody has a question or a concern that we feel like we can’t answer at that time; it’s a great opportunity for us to either take it back and find the answer or take a look to make sure we’ve looked at all the various components that might be a concern to people.”
The Cardiff Overpass information session takes place Dec. 12 from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre.