Province continues upgrading of Fifth Meridian
Work set to begin May 16, 2011
Your daily commute along the Fifth Meridian may soon take a bit longer, now that construction season is in full swing in Alberta.
The Government of Alberta has announced that, beginning May 16, it will continue the 48 St. enhancement project it started in 2010.
Driving along 48 St. – arguably the busiest in Stony Plain – can be a frustrating and harrowing experience. Navigating its rough surface can vex motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike.
The Town of Stony Plain shares the concerns of those who may be fed up with the poor and potentially unsafe conditions along the Fifth Meridian. Like the people who call this community home, council and administration also use this primary route through town.
“Our residents expect and deserve good, safe infrastructure,” says Ken Lemke, mayor of Stony Plain. “Recognizing the need to accelerate important infrastructure improvements for the benefit of all citizens, the Town is doing everything within its power to improve the Fifth Meridian.”
What many may not know is that 48 St. is a provincial highway, and that the responsibility for maintaining and improving it belongs to the Alberta Transportation – a a ministry of the Government of Alberta.
Last year, the Province launched a highway improvement project that will see significant enhancements from Hwy. 16A to Hwy. 628. In 2010, crews completed underground work along Phase I – between 44 Ave. and 47 Ave., up to the CNR tracks.
This year, Alberta Transportation will complete this phase of the project, which includes widening streets, adding a centre median and installing additional streetlights. To enhance safety and convenience, the Province will begin construction of a three-metre wide pedestrian and cycling trail – paid for by the Town, which will run parallel to 48 St. – from Hwy. 16A to Hwy. 628.
Motorists can expect delays throughout the project and are encouraged to use alternate routes through this part of town.
In 2003, Alberta Transportation decided it would take over all secondary highways throughout the province, including Hwy. 779 and Hwy. 628, both of which run through town limits.
Although the Town of Stony Plain surrendered control of these two roads, the Province approved the Town’s request to conduct a functional design study of the sections that run through Stony Plain. The objective was to evaluate street conditions and determine the impact existing and projected traffic volumes would have on these roads – in order to ascertain what improvements would be needed.
The assessment identified significant issues with Hwy. 779. Recommended upgrades included a wider road, a centre median, dedicated turning lanes, additional traffic lights and road signage, enhanced street lighting, more sidewalks and formal pedestrian crossings.
Working with the Province, the Town developed a two-phase strategy to implement these projects. The Alberta Boom yielded unprecedented growth in Stony Plain, significantly increasing the traffic volume along 48 St. – much more than was projected in the study. In fact, the greater number of vehicles traveling this route demanded full implementation of the functional plan.
In 2009, Alberta Transportation informed the Town that it had added the much-needed improvements to its three-year plan. In response, the Town retained the services of Kran Construction, Ltd. to complete $3 million water and sewer infrastructure upgrades, anticipating that road construction improvements would commence in 2010 (road surface improvements to 48 St. are the Province’s responsibility; however, it is up to the Municipality to maintain the underground infrastructure).
The Town has dialogued with the Province for many years about its infrastructure. As the Town takes its commitment to fostering and maintaining good infrastructure and public safety seriously, it is very pleased this upgrading project will continue this year.
The Town thanks citizens for their understanding and patience as this project is underway; the end-result will be a much-improved and safer street for everyone. Residents with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact Alberta Transportation.