Council motions for Cardiff Corner task force

by Ashley Janes

Morinville – On Tuesday, Nov. 26, Council passed a motion to put together a Terms of Reference in order to create a task force, which would advocate on behalf of timely construction of a Cardiff Corner Overpass.

Prior to making the motion, Mayor Lisa Holmes wanted to clarify a few points regarding the recent decision to install traffic lights at the Highway 2 intersection. The first was that the decision rested solely with Alberta Transportation, as they are the authority for that road.

She also explained that when Town officials met with the Minister of Transportation in late May of 2013, the options presented and discussed at that meeting were asked to be held in confidence as requested by Alberta Transportation. The information was to remain in confidence until such a time when Alberta Transportation was in a position to release their decision to the public and Council respected that confidence throughout subsequent discussions.

Councillor Stephen Dafoe also weighed in on this matter, revealing that he questioned an Alberta Transportation representative [at AUMA last week] whether it was his understanding that the options presented were to be kept in confidence and that the man confirmed this was the case. “So I would like to publicly state that our CAO and our Mayor, Deputy Mayor at the time, did not lie about keeping that matter in confidence. I asked Alberta Transportation directly and was given the message that it was his understanding that was to be kept in confidence.”

Alberta Transportation presented a number of options as solutions to the problematic intersection. There was discussion of deflecting eastward the Highway 2 northbound entry lane into Morinville, thereby removing Morinville-bound traffic from the highway. Because this project came with a construction cost of $6.5 million dollars, the option was dismissed. “The cost at this point was not something the provincial government was willing to undertake,” Holmes said.

Another option was to use the currently barricaded access road to Morinville in order to improve sightlines for drivers turning left. “This idea was dismissed because they could not find an engineer that would sign off on that,” Holmes said. “It’s unprecedented that it would be considered, and it would not meet engineering standards.”

The possibility of simply closing the intersection altogether was briefly considered and then immediately dismissed due to the implications it would have for the community. “We just found that on the business side of things, and I’m sure the Chamber of Commerce would concur, the effects on the existing business down on the south end of Town would be immense,” the mayor said. “Especially with the amount of traffic that would be re-routed through Town.”

The installation of traffic lights was chosen because, of all the options, it represented a safer solution the more reasonable cost of $2 million. Construction for the traffic lights is anticipated to begin in March 2014, pending the acceptance of a final design and the cooperation of weather.

Mayor Holmes stressed that the installation of traffic lights is an interim measure, which is why she presented the motion for a Terms of Reference to be put together. A task force with the objective of lobbying for timely action is another way for Morinville to have their goal realized. “We are committed to moving forward to advocate for the long-term plan, which is an overpass,” she said. “They’re saying five to seven years would be how long we would be looking at until that starts to happen. It could be sooner.”

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  1. It is about time something is being done at that intersection. I have driven that highway for 18 years and I can’t even begin to count the umber of collisions at that corner.
    A set of lights will at least help to keep people driving highway 2 safer at that intersection.

  2. I would be interested to know if the $6.5 mil deflecting option was considered in the context of being essentially the Southeast Ramp of the original phase 1 of the overpass plan, or as a separate new cost like the traffic light solution. If it is ultimately the plan to complete the overpass, the SEramp, (which could possibly be designed & built now to serve as the deflection road) will have to be built anyway (different specs/grade nearing cardiff road, but should be close), as opposed to the lights which will be a $2 mil loss. Unless the obtaining the land is still an issue, over the 5-7 yr time frame, instead of being an added cost, wouldn’t it be an overall saving? Just wondering.

  3. I hate to say it, but once the traffic lights are in, the province will likely consider the matter closed and deflect all attempts to dump more money into an overpass that we don’t necessarily need. $6.5 million today will be more than $10 million in a couple of years, which will make it even more unattractive and unlikely. Until the land sale/resale/legal issues are worked out on the south-east corner parcel, I don’t see anything happening soon.

    While we don’t like it, let’s give the lights a chance and see what happens. I can hardly wait for the traffic backups while the lights are being installed…probably over the Labour Day long weekend!

  4. Just so I have this straight. The GoA will not spend $6.5M on the “first phase” of the overpass to relocate the North bound turn lane onto Cardiff road. BUT…they are willing to spend $2M on a 5-7 year solution that will be all thrown away when the turn lane gets built?

    At that time the GoA will spend the $6.5M ( plus inflation)so lets make it 8 million for easy math + the 2 million they threw away on the insane idea of putting lights on a four lane freeway, making a nice round total spend of $10 million for a $6.5M solution. On a day when the Province announces windfall oil and tax revenues for the current fiscal year. Doing things right the first time saves money in the long run.

    For crying out loud!! The Town does not need a task force to look into this! We have an MLA to put the required pressure on the government. PUT HER TO WORK ! Work with the Sturgeon council (who just happen to have a Minister in their area that drives through this intersection all the time) for an effective lobby to put the proper fix in … now. Work within the CRB to mount an effective lobby.

    I hope the advocating skills of our Mayor and council are considerably better than this. Particularly the Mayor, who has been elected to the AUMA board to advocate for ALL communities in Alberta. Heaven help us!

  5. We are now seeing the same here in Morinville as happened with highway 63 to Fort Mac. When the money was flowing out of there, that road was deemed a hazard but now that the province has squandered all that money and oil prices have temporarily fallen, the road is now considered safe but all the drivers are the problem and need education !!!! Cardiff Corner is a killer and will continue to be a killer, even with the traffic lights, until the overpass is put in. Five to seven years will turn into 10 to 20 years, meanwhile manufacturers / businesses that might possibly look at Morinville as a viable location will, no doubt, take this killer corner into consideration when making their decision! Not to mention the fact that we, the residents of Morinville, WILL lose family members, friends and neighbours to horrendous crashes at that corner. This goes to show what the going price is for a human life from the provincial government? Sad.

  6. Close Cardiff corner and make everyone use the existing over pass would be a good fix

  7. I’ve not always (read: hardly ever!) agreed with Lloyd on everything he said or did as our Mayor, but boy, does he have this one right!!

    I know I said that I’d give our new “Magnificent Seven” 100 days before getting too critical but really – a TASK FORCE???? Give us all a break!

    Our so-called ‘leader’ has proven, once again, that she is totally devoid of ANYHING even remotely resembling leadership skills.

    And, regardless of what some nameless, faceless bureaucrat told Councillor Dafoe at the AUMA Conference – SOMEBODY LIED TO US! Whether it was the Provincial Ministry of Transportation or our then-Deputy Mayor is STILL unresolved. Perhaps our MLA would like to adjudicate this one??

    Have a nice day.

  8. I agree with Lloyd. My question to council is; What are you doing forming a task force? This is a provincial highway, the province has to deal with it now. Putting traffic lights on a major highway is a horrible decision. How could supposed intelligent people, who we elected to represent us, the constituents, make such a bone headed mistake? Don’t waste our time with a task force, and quit throwing tax dollars out the window!

  9. C’mon Phil! Most unfortunately, when the ‘surprise’ Task Force motion was tabled, apparently NOBODY had the intestinal fortitude to ask a very simple question: “Mayor Holmes, exactly what is it you hope to achieve with this motion?”. Equally unfortunately, apparently none of our duly-elected Councillors had the balls to vote against yet ANOTHER insane action!

  10. Lloyd has it right. Get the two MLA’s on the job. One may be a back bencher, but the other is in the inner circles and a possible replacement to the premier when they realize that a change at the top is necessary.

  11. Oh!!! Just had a great thought!!!!!

    How about a bunch of us get signs, go to Cardiff corner, AND, on a rotation of 90 second intervals, we block highway 2.

    We could mimic the traffic lights!!

    Block traffic for 1 1/2 minutes, let traffic go for 1 1/2 minutes!!

    Then we and the province could see how well this plan will work.

    Good ideal, OR, bad????

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