127 street and Anthony Henday is set to close. Provincial decision explained below.

SUMMARY

·         Alberta Transportation (AT) is closing the intersection of 127 Street and Anthony Henday Drive (AHD) due to operational and safety concerns. (The 127 Street access will continue to be maintained for adjacent landowners from Ellerslie Road).

BACKGROUND

·         The right-in right-out access at 127 Street and AHD was constructed when this section of AHD was completed in the 2000s (Attachment 1).

o  At that time, AHD had a lower posted speed limit due to the signalized intersection further west at Rabbit Hill Road, Cameron Heights Drive, Lessard Road, and Callingwood Road.

o  All signalized intersections on AHD have subsequently been upgraded to interchanges.

·         The intersection had been originally intended to be closed when the last interchange was built in the southwest portion of the AHD and the speed limit was raised to 100 kilometres per hour.

·         In September 2016, during a coordination meeting, the City was briefed on plans for the intersection’s closure.

o   AT will complete all public communications about the closure.

o   The City requested adequate notification be provided (two weeks or more) to City administration to provide time to brief Council.

o  The City requested the timing of the closure to occur with or after the re-opening of Ellerslie Road at the end of September.

KEY CONSIDERATIONS

·         Operational problems have developed because traffic entering AHD from 127 Street is travelling considerably slower than traffic on the freeway. The resulting speed differences are creating conflicts and are a safety concern.

·         At peak times, traffic on the AHD intermittently comes to a complete stop in both eastbound lanes due to high volumes of slow moving traffic entering the freeway from 127 Street.

o  Traffic volumes on 127 Street averaged 5,190 vehicles per day in 2015, growing from 2,630 vehicles per day in 2012. This is a 97 per cent increase in traffic over three years.

  • Traffic on 127 Street is expected to continue to grow due to additional development in the area.

·         Condition of the cold mix surface on 127 Street has deteriorated where closure is warranted.

  • Increasing amounts of surface failures necessitate significant expenses to keep 127 Street in an operational condition.

  • Rutting of up to 17 cm was measured during mid-summer.

  • Traffic has been observed making unsafe maneuvers to avoid areas of failure and rutting, such as driving down the middle or in the opposite lane.

  • There are no shoulders for emergency stops and the steep side slopes of 1:1 create hazards for traffic that run off the road.

o  Plowing snow on 127 Street is difficult due to the poor surface condition, and there is no room for snow storage.

o  The road was not constructed with a proper base and due to the increasing traffic volumes; maintenance is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive.

·         Road users in the area will be able to access the provincial highway system from the following interchanges:

o   Rabbit Hill Road and AHD

o    111 Street and AHD

o    Ellerslie Road and Highway 2

o    41 Avenue and Highway 2

·         The closure will include signing in and around the intersection of 127 Street and Ellerslie Road to ensure drivers do not try to use the road to access AHD.