by Colin Smith
Street improvements in the Westwinds area will go ahead at a cost of $2.65 million following a decision by Town Council at its Feb. 25 Regular Meeting.
The work on 100 Street from the CN railway crossing to 90 Avenue is needed because of planned opening of St. Kateri Tekawitha Academy in September, in addition to the recent construction of several commercial/retail businesses.
Council approved $450,000 in the 2018 Budget for improvements to the 100 Street intersection.
That was only for traffic light installation. Recognition that further improvements are necessary and should be done at the same to avoid throwaway costs in the future have resulted in the cost jump.
According to Iain Bushell, Interim Director of Public Works, the current project is a partial build that will include traffic light installation, dedicated turning lanes at Westwinds Drive as well as a pedestrian multiway on the west side of the road from the rail crossing to 90 Avenue.
The estimated $2.65 million costs of the project include contingency funds.
Of the $450,000 approved by Council in the 2018 Budget, about $150,000 has been spent. With the other $300,000 put toward the proposed improvements, an additional $2.35 million is needed.
Council went along with the Administration recommendation that to finance the project the 2020 Road/Sidewalk Rehabilitation program be deferred. The $760,000 earmarked for that will be combined with $1.59 million from the Offsite Levy – Transportation reserve to make up the total.
With $1,652,114 in the reserve, the withdrawal would result in a remaining balance of $62,114.
Tenders for construction of the project are to go out within a few days.
The remainder of 100 Street will be upgraded in a future phase, stated Bushel.
“The full build-out of the roadway within the existing road right of way will consist of an urban cross-section along the west side of the road (curb and gutter) as well as a storm system to eliminate the current ditch,” he said.
“The ditch along the east side will need to be relocated further to the east to facilitate road widening for dedicated turning lanes into the new developments.”
The preliminary estimate for full build-out of the entire length of 100 Street is $3.9 million.
During the discussion of the project, Councillor Lawrence Giffin raised the question of other intersections in the community that need attention, including 100 Avenue and Grandin Drive.
“There are at least four other locations in town that have as much traffic or more,” he said. “I’m concerned that we need to make sure that these locations are also taken care of as soon as possible because they are already in situations where there is a lot of traffic.”
CAO Stephane Labonne said the difference was that this is a T-intersection where queuing is occurring both north and south on 100 Street.
“This is one that will only continue to get worse,” he said.
Following Council’s approval of the project, Councillor Stephen Dafoe entered a notice of motion.
The motion he will move at an upcoming meeting calls on the Administration to come back to Council with an estimate of the cost of putting in traffic signals at 100 Avenue and Grandin Drive.
They will also be called on to develop a plan urging the government to install lights either on a whole or cost-shared basis with Morinville, with a Morinville share potentially to come out of automated enforcement revenue.