The city has begun initial construction for a new roundabout at Everitt Drive and Ebony Way to slow traffic in Erin Ridge.
Full construction will begin once Coal Mine Road is open and able to act as an alternate route at the beginning of August. The city has projected construction will be completed in October.
Dean Schick, St. Albert’s transportation manager, said the roundabout will address safety concerns and help to mitigate congestion and delays.
“We’re seeing continued growth in the area with new commercial developments and additional road users,” Schick said. “The roundabout is a necessary improvement that will help with operations.”
Schick said alternatives such as adding a multi-way stop or a traffic signal would have resulted in more delays on adjacent roads, and ultimately the roundabout will be the best option.
“The roundabout will better accommodate pedestrians and all road users in the long term,” Schick said.
Erin Ridge resident Kathy Van Hoof said the traffic circle could be an “interesting solution” to an issue she has noticed of drivers avoiding St. Albert Trail by cutting through Erin Ridge Drive, but argued more foresight could have prevented traffic from accumulating there in the first place.
“If the city would have looked a little further ahead and made some of the proper connections so people aren’t forever trying to find shortcuts through neighbourhoods, maybe we wouldn’t be here right now,” Van Hoof said.
She said while she wished the issues had been planned for earlier, she was happy to see some form of response from the city.
“I know there have been a lot of complaints about that intersection,” Van Hoof said. “At least the city is looking at addressing them.”
Residents highlight concerns with looming development
Erin Ridge residents Sandy and Don Scott said they’re concerned the roundabout won’t be able to mitigate the effects of development in Erin Ridge.
“With this Riverbank Landing development, you’re going to have another 1,000 cars, and what do you think all those people are going to do? They’re going to be using Erin Ridge Drive,” Don Scott said. “The city wants to be developer friendly, but it’s coming at the expense of the existing community.”
The Scotts argued that, as a collector roadway, Erin Ridge Drive should largely only be taken up by cars from the area.
“People can’t get out of their crescents on to Erin Ridge Drive because it’s backed up all the way to Boudreau Road,” Sandy Scott said.
Like Van Hoof, Sandy and Don Scott said they took issue with so many drivers using Erin Ridge Drive to shortcut traffic lights on St. Albert Trail.
“People want to have a shortcut to get to Costco,” Sandy Scott said. “Now everybody coming from the east side of St. Albert Trail chooses not to use it because there’s five traffic lights there.”
Schick said the ongoing improvements to St. Albert Trail will have the “anticipated benefit” of encouraging drivers to use the road. The city is currently completing the first phase of improvements to the road which will widen the corridor and add additional north and southbound lanes.
“We do think the roundabout will help mitigate some of the traffic disruption in the Erin Ridge community,” Schick said. "We really do appreciate everyone's patience in the construction."