Cardiff Corner to receive traffic lights

by Calli Stromner

Morinville – A number of recently announced changes may make Cardiff Corner a safer intersection, but it may not be a continuation of the original interchange project. Alberta Transporta-tion Minister Ric McIver announced Tuesday that installation of new traffic lighting will take place at the intersection of Highway 2 and Cardiff Road beginning next Spring. The intersection will also see a speed limit decrease from the current 100 kph to 80 kph and more lighting to make the stretch of road safer, including flashing amber warning lights that activate when the traffic signals are red or about to turn red.

“Safety is our top priority. We are making the right investment to increase the safety for the many families and businesses who use this intersection as part of their daily activi-ties,” said Minister McIver in a news release. Alberta Transportation says that the Car-diff Corner intersection handles approximately 18,000 vehicles every day and is the sight of approximately eight serious motor vehicle collisions every year. The deadly in-tersection has also claimed the lives of three people in the past 13 years, says Alberta Transportation Press Secretary Parker Hogan. The Cardiff Corner improvements are expected to reduce the collision rate by 44%.

“The Minister is responding to the significant concerns brought up by residents about this intersection,” said Hogan in an interview. He added that Alberta Transportation will assess whether further improvements to the intersection fit into the government’s long-term vision and “how it relates to the Anthony Henday Ring Road.”

Morinville Mayor Lisa Holmes believes that the $2 million project is an interim solution that will only fend off growing traffic congestion and safety concerns for so long. “We will have to re-visit this in five to seven years to see if it still works,” Holmes said, adding that many unanswered questions still exist. “We have to make sure that we are not transferring safety concerns. Are we transferring the risk from side (impact) collisions to rear-end collisions? How are we going to cope with traffic back-ups on Cardiff Road?”

Residents who attended a Meet and Greet with Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith on Tuesday night had even more questions about the traffic lights, including why they weren’t consulted about five options that the provincial government was considering. Morinville resident James O’Brien wondered why the proposed solutions were not shared with the public and why the traffic lights were the chosen route. “We’re inviting a lot more problems than we’re solving,” he said.

Smith suggested that the timing of announcement seemed like more than a coincidence. “Every time I do one of these small town meetings, there always seems to be a government announcement,” she said. She also echoed residents’ concerns about the lack of public consultation in bringing about a solution, saying that she would take the residents’ concerns back to Minister McIver for follow-up.

Construction and installation of the new intersection lighting could commence as early as late March 2014 and could be complete before the end of next summer.

ORIGINAL STORY FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON – PUBLISHED 12:57 P.M.

by Calli Stromner

A number of recently announced changes may make Cardiff Corner a safer intersection, but it may not be a continuation of the original interchange project. Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver announced Tuesday that installation of new traffic lighting will take place at the intersection of Highway 2 and Cardiff Road beginning next Spring.

“Safety is our top priority. We are making the right investment to increase the safety for the many families and businesses who use this intersection as part of their daily activities,” said Minister McIver in a news release. Alberta Transportation says that the Cardiff Corner intersection is the site of approximately eight serious motor vehicle collisions every year.

The intersection will also see a speed limit decrease from the current 100 kph to 80 kph and more lighting to make the stretch of road safer at night.

“The installation of traffic lights at the Cardiff Road and Highway 2 intersection is a crucial safety initiative that will be welcomed by the residents of Morinville,” said Mayor Lisa Holmes in the same news release. “Our Council looks forward to seeing this suitable safety measure, while continuing conversations with the Ministry to plan for future improvement of this intersection so that its safety continues to keep pace with our community’s growth.”

Alberta Transportation estimates the cost of this construction project is $2 million and expects it to begin in spring 2014, after it is designed and tendered.

More information to come as the story develops.

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17 Comments

  1. It is progress however, it would be nice to see lights installed before the spring.

  2. This announcement is bittersweet to me because traffic lights are safer than nothing but I do not feel they are the proper solution for a 4 lane highway.

    Spending 2 million for traffic lights seems absurd. Its sad the province cannot build the overpass at this time and it looks like this project will end up like the west side Anthony Henday. Lights for years then finally overpasses that will cost more in the long run than just building an overpass now.

    My other concern is how short will the green light be for turning south onto highway 2. Are only 4 or 5 cars going to make it through resulting in long lines of traffic in the morning. Late in the day when less traffic is turning south and more traffic is heading north on highway 2 this will be safe but in the morning when most people are leaving Cardiff road I could see delays.

  3. While this announcement might be welcomed by many as “a step in the right direction”, it does NOT detract from the fact that SOMEONE – either the Provincial Government or our now-Mayor, apparently flat-out LIED to us. When asked about advising the public of options being considered for this junction, we were told that the Minister himself forbade the Town from telling us about the possibilities. On the other hand the Province advised that they did NOT forbid the Town from telling us what options were being considered.

    Unfortunately, while all concerned stand around patting themselves on their backs about what a wonderful solution they’ve foisted upon us (and with such a large amount of public input too!), I sincerely hope that this doesn’t turn into an even greater problem! Remember – without a consequent, and considerable, speed reduction as you approach these lights on Highway 2, we are inviting some disastrous consequences (Hmmmm, I wonder if our vaunted Traffic Safety Committee had any input into this decision?)

    The incompetent with nothing to do can still make a mess of it.
    Laurence J. Peter (1919 – 1988)

    Have a nice day!

  4. This is entirely the wrong approach to this intersection! Jeff hit the nail on the head, the traffic lights will be timed so short that only a few cars can get through, creating lineups and FRUSTRATION! Use the $ 2 million to build a proper off ramp further off the road for traffic turning in at Cardiff Corners. This will allow the vehicles moving on to Hwy 2 from the corner greater visibility at the stop sign seeing cars coming north with no blind spots. I get the feeling that the people making the decisions here are the same ones who apparently have decided that the town of Morinville will NOT plow the roads until December! Decisions by this town are starting to get scary and dangerous!

  5. Funny how a town can plan and build without the infrastructure to support it. This county seems to embrace such an odd way of doing things- and the town- well, it does not take an engineer to forecast traffic when building a subdivision or two…South Morinville should not have been approved before the roadways could support that growth (kinda obvious). North Morinville was- good on em for building that overpass years ago- though it is completely underused. Maybe plan the town utilizing your infrastructure, instead of building then hoping the province will come in later and fix things.
    Having a proper, line of sight -right hand turn lane, pretty much like any highway in North America would generally suffice- but not here in no planning skills Alberta. DAA is all I can say.

  6. Does this really need to be so difficult???

    44 million to redesign the highway, 2 million for lights….

    Try this: Reduce speed to 80km/hr then to 60km/hr for about 400meters as you clear the intersection, next put in two photo radar cameras, one facing each way on the highway, next put up big signs “INTERSECTION PHOTO RADAR MONITORED 24/7”.

    Problem solved, people will slow down because they know the camera is there. And traffic will slow but be albe to keep moving. Costs will only be some signage and the cost of two cameras which will undoubtably pay for themselves in a short time frame.

    The greatly reduced speed will give more lead time to cross safely and reduce damage/injuries should a collision occur.

  7. I agree with Ryan on what the most effective solution was. Building an overpass was not only a huge waste of money, but over-kill. I think that putting stop lights on a four lane highway like Hwy 2 will likely mean that we might (key word) have fewer accidents, but the ones that do happen will be more spectacular as people try to beat red lights. I hope they are smart enough to put a cameras on the lights!

    The way to go, which a few people have suggested, was to move the off ramp lanes further west so that people going across Hwy 2 could see what was coming. I’m not sure if the south-west corner land issues were ever resolved, but it would have been a fairly quick fix. People exercise such poor judgment, especially in the winter, that for the past three years my wife and I usually use the northern overpass to get on Hwy 2. On weekdays, I’ve had too many close calls.

    In the end, we have to admit that the province is doing something. We have to try it before complaining about it. I don’t blame them for not wanting to spend the money on an overpass when there are other, far more economical solutions out there.

  8. Well thats a fix i guess. Glad they are doing something before someone gets killed.
    So the speed limit will be changed to 80. Now your going 80 kph and you have to stop for a traffic light?! Seriously, come on now, 2 million would buy a heck of a chunk of land to fix this whole problem. What ever happened to expropriation. Looks like the province is finding the easy way out to shut up the people of Morinville.
    And your right Ryan, proper highways should not have intersections and road crossings or traffic lights. These type of things are just asking for death and destruction. Proper merging lanes and overpasses are the only safe alternative.

  9. I wish to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor of the Town of Morinville, the Mayor of Sturgeon County and ESPECIALLY our MLA, for the outstanding leadership they have all shown in apparently accepting without much discussion Minister McIver’s decision to install traffic lights at this intersection. I now know why we elected these “professional” politicians to their respective offices.

    NOT!!!!!!!!!

    By the way Tim, the chances of THIS Provincial Government attaching photo radar cameras to these lights is Slim to None – and Slim just left town!

    “We will have to re-visit this in five to seven years to see if it still works,”…

    Five to seven years? Mayor, give us a break! You’ve been involved in this from the very beginning and NOW I understand why you were so anxious to keep this a secret. I venture to say your chances of being elected would have been lessened considerably had EVERYONE known of your support for this incredibly ludicrous idea! Your lack of true leadership apparently knows no bounds. If this is the sort of thing we can look forward to for the next four years, we are truly in deeper trouble than I thought!

    And Madame Kubinec – YOU have shown once again just how much of a light-weight backbencher you truly are. I’m so pleased that you’ve wasted so many of our tax dollars to assist your Minister in devising this insane proposal! 2016 can’t come soon enough!

    Have a nice day.

  10. Well said James, this is a complete joke! These “improvements” are expected to reduce the collision rate by 44% !!! That means more people are going to die !! I truly hope that these politicians wake up and revisit this decision. What a waste of our tax dollars! And like James said, this is not just Morinville but Sturgeon County and the Province as well. And this secretary, Parker Hogan, says the minister and Alberta Transportation will assess whether further improvements fit into the governments long term vision and how it “relates to the Anthony Henday ring road”!! Huh???? We’re thirty KMs north of the AH!! This is a four lane highway that by-passes Morinville and is a MAJOR feeder into / out of St. Albert / Edmonton and they want to put traffic lights up? They might as well put the speed limit at 60 KPH north of Morinville and leave it at 60 KPH to St. Albert. This decision will kill more citizens than it saves !!!

  11. This is not the solution that most people would choose. Stopping traffic on a major thoroughfare every few minutes is not good. I would only agree with this if there was more of a balance with east-west traffic passing through the intersection, yet it is only one-way. Same kind of decision making as erecting 4-way stops in town, not necessary at most of the intersections.

  12. The only thing worse than doing nothing is forcing a half-baked idea down people’s throats.

    We’ve seen what happens in this town when administration doesn’t consult with the public. The $12 million boondoggle cultural center, the town hall reno overbudget by millions of dollars, it’s like ‘Bureaucrats gone wild’.

    With a track record like that, you’d think they would hold SOME sort of consultation with the community before forcing multi million dollar decisions upon us.

  13. Let me play prophet for a moment… Here’s what I see happening over the next couple of years.

    First – At some point in time BEFORE funds are committed to the traffic light “solution”, the Province will CANCEL the project, citing “response to citizen input” as the reason. NO alternative will be presented, AT THAT TIME.

    Second – As the 2016 PROVINCIAL election draws nigh (in an abortive effort to retain their seat in this constituency) the PROVINCIAL government, via MADAME KUBINEC, will approve another (read: saner) solution. This will in turn prompt our erstwhile MLA to proclaim: “Look what the PC Party – and I, as your MLA, have done for you, the electorate of this constituency! Surely you must vote PC.”

    Third – Regardless of whether or not the PC Party retains power in 2016 (God forbid!), the foregoing will allow our Mayor to proclaim: “Look what I have been able to convince the Province to do to resolve this problem.” This of course would be her lead-up to the next municipal election and it wouldn’t really matter if the PCs get back in or not. In her mind, it’s all about HER re-election!

    Now folks – time will determine the validity of my prophecy, but one can only hope that the electorate will remember exactly how this fiasco played out!

    In politics stupidity is not a handicap.
    Napoleon Bonaparte

    Have a nice day!

  14. Congrats Morinville, you will now never have a overpass because of these traffic lights… Traffic lights on a HIGHWAY..unbelievable.

    Any person who thinks this is a “temporary solution” should give their head a shake. This will be permanent folks. I would have liked to have heard some more viable ideas instead of having this rammed down our throats.

    This intersection needs a fix, but I would rather see a proper solution, not a satisfactory one.

  15. So, nothing is better than a 44 percent reduction??

    This traffic light ideal, is not new. Previous councils, have tried and tried to get the province to fix the safety hazard at this intersection for more than a decade.

    The solution, of moving the north bound lane to the east has also been mentioned as a solution.

    Before, this council even went to the poles, the traffic light solution was the only one the province seemed willing to offer and the previous council accepted the ideal because it was felt that some improvement in safety is better than nothing.

    Now, if the province is willing to spend some two million on traffic lights, maybe the town of Morinville, could put in some money along with the county and we can ask the province to move the north bound lane. I have not heard what the cost of moving the lane would be, so maybe the amount we would have to contribute would be more than the towns folks would be willing to pay.

    Also, keep in mind that any money spent on this road would be wasted if the overpass goes in because it would get torn up. (which I belive is why the lights were proposed)

  16. Thanks for weighing in on this Joe, but I do have a couple of concerns with your comment.

    No. 1 – I’m curious as to your source for that part of your statement which says: “Before, this council even went to the poles, the traffic light solution was the only one the province seemed willing to offer and the previous council accepted the ideal because it was felt that some improvement in safety is better than nothing.” The reason for my concern is that, for the past year (+) this whole thing has been shrouded in a great veil of secrecy. If ANY Council member has violated the sanctity of the ‘In-Camera’ meeting, he or she should be brought up on charges and, at the very least, be FIRED!

    No. 2 – If all of what you have said re: costs for the different options is correct, WHY has it taken so terribly long to advise us, the electorate AND taxpayer, of their so-called “solution”?

    No. 3 – “…The Cardiff Corner improvements are expected to reduce the collision rate by 44%.” I realize these are not YOUR numbers however, ANYONE can pull something like this out of their butt and I’m trying to figure out exactly how these folks arrived at that particular number.

    No. 4 – And perhaps most importantly… NONE of this detracts from the FACT that we have been LIED to, by either our Provincial Government OR our present Mayor! The whole manner in which this issue has been “handled” leaves a very ugly taste in one’s mouth.

    ” Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either. ”
    by Albert Einstein

    Have a nice day.

  17. So the questions this raises in my head…

    1. How many other places in Alberta have lights on a 4 lane highway? I can’t think of any, but if they are there, what are the accident statistics on these areas? I would guess that they create many more rear-end collisions.

    2. Legal corner and Clyde Corner probably experiences just as many bad accidents each year. Should lights be installed on these areas as well?

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