Above: Residents gathered recently at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre to look at options for intersection improvements in town. – Morinville Online File Photo
by Colin Smith
Morinville council will approach the Alberta government for funding of improvements to the intersection of Grandin Drive and 100 Avenue/Highway 642 once it receives a consultant’s report.
At a special meeting, Monday council approved a motion to that effect introduced by Councillor Stephen Dafoe.
The motion, which received unanimous support from council members, directs the mayor to reach out to Alberta Transportation with a proposal to install intersection improvements at the intersection of Highway 642 and Grandin Drive East, pending the results of the consultant’s report.
The consultant is ISL Engineering, which is evaluating improvement options for this intersection, along with the intersection of 100 Street and Cardiff Road.
For both intersections, the choice is between traffic lights and roundabouts.
Community members had a chance to get more information about the intersection improvement proposals and express their opinions at an October 26 open house. Input from the open house and an online survey will be incorporated into the report.
After the introduction of Dafoe’s motion, a number of changes were made to it on the basis of suggestions by other council members, which he accepted.
The original motion specifically referred to signalization at the intersection and that the project be funded on a cost-sharing basis with the province, with Morinville’s share to be paid from available reserves, particularly the traffic safety reserve.
Dafoe then acknowledged that the decision on whether signalization or roundabouts were the route to go awaited the consultant’s report, so he agreed to a change to the motion on that basis.
However, he expressed confidence that the report would recommend signalization, which appeared to be the preferred option of most people who attended the open house.
Councillor Jenn Anheliger stated her concerns with referring to cost-sharing when it might be possible to get the entire amount from the province.
In response to a question from Councillor Rebecca Balanko, Financial Services Manager Travis Nosko stated that the traffic safety fund contains substantially less than $200,000, which means it would probably not cover half the cost of improving the intersection.
Nosko noted that council could allocate reserves from other designations for the project.
Dafoe stressed that the primary intent of his motion was to get the ball rolling on provincial involvement in funding the intersection improvement.
The councillor pointed out that the engineering consultant had concluded that the intersection surpasses the necessary threshold for intersection improvements.
“The time is now,” Dafoe said. “I look forward to the report coming back, I look forward to the results in that report, and I look forward to us going to government’s door once again to get as much money as possible to get it done.”
According to the May-August 2022 strategic plan progress report, presented at the special council meeting, $50,000 was allotted in the 2022 capital budget for each of the two intersection planning projects.
As of August 31, $12,574 had been spent for each project, 25% of the budgeted funds.
The initial ISL Engineering review of existing conditions was followed by the intersection improvement option evaluation stage and public engagement, including the open house and survey.
The final report from ISL is expected later this fall, and it will then be submitted to Alberta Transportation, which has the final say on projects to be undertaken near provincial highways.
A recommendation for intersection improvements will then be presented to town council, to be based on public input, technical analysis and public policy.
The special council meeting was decided on for Monday because budget discussions at the November 25 regular meeting went on too long for the completion of the remainder of its agenda.