by Colin Smith
Traffic lights will not be installed at the intersection of 100 Avenue and Grandin Drive this year.
Town Council voted unanimously at a special meeting Tuesday to refer the question of installing traffic signals at the intersection to the 2021 Capital Budget process.
The move followed the discussion of an Administration recommendation that signalization not proceed before completion of Morinville’s Transportation Master Plan, due to be presented July 14.
In March Council passed a motion from Councillor Stephen Dafoe directing the Administration to come up with a cost estimate for installing the lights and report back by June.
They were also to examine the possibility of the provincial government paying for the installation in whole or on a cost-sharing basis with Morinville, with the Town’s portion to potentially be derived from future automated enforcement revenues.
The report presented to Council at this meeting indicated full signalization of the intersection would cost about $315,000, including $35,000 for design and $280,000 to supply and install.
Also, Alberta Transportation has stated no provincial funding would be available for signalizing 100 Ave and Grandin. So the Town of Morinville would have to pay the full shot.
In addition, Administration presented Council with an updated traffic impact assessment and capacity analysis that concludes the existing four-way stop intersection can handle development of Grandin Heights Phase 1 as well the Four Winds School site.
Changes to the intersection would be needed before the development of Grandin Heights Phase 2, but that could involve traffic signals or installation of a roundabout.
Priority for intersection upgrades is meant to be determined by the Transportation Master Plan. It has yet to be finalized, so a decision on whether to go ahead and signalize the intersection would be premature, the Administration report suggests.
Following discussion of that information and Morinville’s other needs for capital spending, such as redeveloping the Splash Park, Mayor Barry Turner moved that the question of upgrading the intersection become part of the 2021 Capital Budget Process.
“We’re really going to have a tough capital budget for 2021,” said Turner, in speaking to the motion. “We’ve got a lot of competing priorities that have to be weighed and we have to weigh very major projects in context in order to make decisions. For this reason, I’d like to refer this to our budget process for consideration.”
Councillor Stephen Dafoe announced his support for the motion.
“I’m really concerned that looking at this down the road as part of the budget apart from the Transportation Master Plan review makes this project no more important than any other,” Dafoe said.
“At our last meeting, there was discussion about how very important it was to do the Splash Park immediately. The Splash Park is very important but so too is this intersection, given not only the amount of pedestrian traffic but the amount of backup there is with West Winds drop-offs and pick-ups.
“I’m afraid we’re going to lose sight of this.”
Deputy Mayor Sarah Hall said she agreed wholeheartedly about the need at the intersection.
“Until you have had to wait in that lineup you wouldn’t know how impactful a light would be at that intersection,” she said.
But Hall also declared her support for the motion, saying she felt would be top of mind when budget discussions took place.
Turner said he recognized the importance of the intersection issue.
“Council demonstrated its consideration for that when passing previous motions,” he said. “I’m confident the budget process will assist in setting the priorities across the community and this will no doubt be part of that discussion.”