Town, provincial officials discuss intersection improvements

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Still negotiating cost-sharing in some cases

The Town of Olds has received a “commitment” from provincial Transportation staff that the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 27 will be improved next year, Mayor Mike Muzycka says.

He says the provincial government has also green-lighted installation of turning signals at the intersection of 57th Avenue and Highway 27, although that’s not the big improvement Muzychka is looking for there. And the town is still negotiating cost-sharing with Transportation for that project.

Transportation staff have also agreed to study the idea of installing traffic lights on Highway 2A at the entrance to the CLC-Olds High School area.

In addition, Transportation officials have approved a town plan to install a crosswalk and crossing lights by the Aquatic Centre (swimming pool) at 54th Street.

Muzychka says all those projects were discussed with Transportation officials during the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association convention in Calgary Nov. 22-24.

Unfortunately, town officials weren’t able to meet with Transportation Minister Brian Mason himself, only his chief of staff and other staff members. But Muzychka is confident the commitments made by Transportation officials in attendance are solid.

“We’ve got a commitment. It looks like in 2018 they’re going to repair the overpass on the QE II (highway),” Muzychka said during an interview with the Albertan.

He said improvements there would include making the northbound merge onto Highway 2 (the QE II) longer and wider.

“It’s a little short. I don’t know if you go north very often. Trying to get in there, especially in the summer, it’s pretty hard,” Muzychka said.

He said the improvements are part of an overall plan to triple-lane the highway in the Olds area.

“Have they given you a commitment that this is going to happen?” Muzychka was asked.

“Yes; yeah. It’s budgeted,” he said.

Muzychka said Transportation officials did not say how much the Highway 2 improvements in the Olds area will cost.

“We didn’t ask,” he said.

“We just accepted it and thanked them and ran,” he added with a laugh.

But it’s his understanding Transportation will foot the entire bill for that work.

Transportation officials also approved installation of turning lights at the intersection of 57th Avenue and Highway 27.

However, that does not include the creation of dedicated turning lanes ñ just turning lights ñ for an overall cost of about $8,000, Muzychka said.

He said Transportation and town officials are still negotiating what portion of that bill the town and province will cover.

“We’ve been given the go-ahead to do a quick $8,000 fix to just get the turn signals going; not widening, not putting in the full turn lanes, but to at least alleviate a bit of it,” Muzychka said.

“The big fix, the true real fix is in the neighbourhood of about $80,000.”

Muzychka said town officials and Transportation staff held “preliminary talks” on the idea of installing traffic lights on Highway 2A at the entrance to the high school.

Muzychka said town officials are considering that idea because they anticipate “a large number” of businesses moving into the nearby industrial area over the next 18 to 24 months.

“We’ve planted that seed. That’s about where it’s at,” he said. “No commitment on that one yet. They’re going to get the study started and get that ball rolling.”

Muzychka said Transportation officials also approved a town idea to install a crosswalk at the Aquatic Centre at 54th Street.

“Some citizens are concerned about the cross walk at the swimming pool. (There’s) very high foot traffic on school days using that crosswalk so some citizens wanted us to have some added safety measures to ensure there are no accidents,” he said in a later email.

He said that work includes painting crosswalk lines and installing flashing lights at that intersection. He stressed those lights would not hang overhead, but would instead be installed on posts or standards.

Muzychka said town and Transportation officials are still determining the cost of that project and how much of the cost will be covered by either level of government.

“We’ve been given the go-ahead to do a quick $8,000 fix to just get the turn signals going; not widening, not putting in the full turn lanes, but to at least alleviate a bit of it.”MAYOR MIKE MUZYCHKA RE: 57TH AVENUE AT HIGHWAY 27

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Doug Collie

Doug Collie joined the Olds Albertan in 2014 as editor. He covers municipal politics, news, community events, arts and entertainment and sports happening in and around Bowden and Olds.