By Stephen Dafoe
Edmonton – Mayor Paul Krauskopf said his meeting Tuesday afternoon with Ric McIver, Alberta’s Transportation Minister, to discuss alternatives to make the Highway 2 and Cardiff Road intersection safer was positive, but he is keeping the details of that discussion quiet until he has a chance to discuss the matter with the rest of Council.
“It was a very productive meeting,” the mayor said. “Mr. McIver presented us with some options on making the intersection as it is now safer for right away. We have a few options. We’ll take those to Council and we have to have a discussion, and I’m not sure when we will make that decision. We’re not prepared to share those options until Council has a look at them and a chance to sort out what’s good and what’s bad with them.”
Mayor Krauskopf said he came away with a sense the province is as concerned with safety at the intersection as Council and residents are. “Enhancing safety was the main topic of the meeting,” he said. “The rest of it falls into long-term planning.”
Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec arranged the meeting between McIver, Mayor Krauskopf and Deputy Mayor Lisa Holmes.
Although an interchange, announced by Kubinec’s predecessor, Ken Kowalski, in the summer of 2011, was to begin construction in the spring of 2012, problems acquiring the two sections of land prevented the project’s commencement. The project was taken off the province’s three year plan with the spring budget.
Although the Mayor would not elaborate as to what the potential alternative solutions might be, he did confirm the province is still trying to acquire land. “They’re still talking about it,” he said. “There’s still one piece they are working on. I’m not sure where it is and I’m not sure who it is. Apparently they are having some difficulties.”
Council will be faced with selecting a solution that enhances safety at the intersection by dealing with sight lines. Although Council and Administration will likely make that decision in relatively short order, just when a selected option would be moved to reality is not known. “That was one commitment we could not get from them today,” Krauskopf said, adding he heard about how the province’s budget was tight. “He wouldn’t commit to a time or a timeline. We asked if it would be the beginning of summer or the end of summer. He wouldn’t say.”
The Mayor said it is unlikely the Town will take further time by putting the options before a public open house. “I think Council needs to make this decision … but it is up to Council,” he said. “I think this is a decision Council has to make. We need to stand by this decision and try and enhance the safety at that corner. In the short term that is what we’re after.”
Mayor Krauskopf anticipates the options appearing on the Council agenda before they break for summer.
The most realistic, quick and affordable fix is to move the northeast exit lane over a couple of hundred metres so that people wanting to cross Hwy 2 can see north-bound traffic more clearly. However, if the land smozzle on that corner hasn’t been sorted out yet, we will likely be waiting a long time for anything in the near future.