Valley Dr. intersection design serves up “spaghetti junction”

Transport Quebec presented this map at the Hwy 5 info session May 19. It shows two traffic circles at the top of Valley Dr.

Transport Quebec presented this map at the Hwy 5 info session May 19. It shows two traffic circles at the top of Valley Dr.

People were left shaking their heads as they examined drawings of the planned extension during the A5 information session at the La Peche arena May 19. Residents puzzled over the many bridges, traffic circles and highway lanes that branch every which way off Valley Dr. in the diagrams.

Wakefield architect Rita Komendant rose to voice her opinion.

“This looks like the Santa Monica Freeway,” said Wakefield architect Rita Komendant,  after studying the “spaghetti junction” mapped out on the tables. She was concerned about animals crossing the tangle of roads, and she fears it will duplicate the situation in a well-known Alberta national park,

“This is going to end up like Banff, with 35-foot high fences and overpasses,” said Komendant.

The design features two traffic circles at the top of Valley Dr. with exits to Hwy 366, Hwy 105, Hwy 5 and Valley Dr. The highway will feature four lanes of traffic, two going north and two heading south.

A new cycling path, to pass under the highway, will connect the Village to Parking Lot No. 17. The current P17 will be moved a bit farther west and will have direct access from Hwy 366.

Other people suggested widening Hwy 105 instead of building a new highway at all, but Jean-Francois Roy, an engineer connected with Cima + and Tecsult Inc explained that road allowances don’t allow it. He also said the shoulders are in bad condition and that many properties would need to be expropriated to widen the road – an option that is off the table.

Several attendees stepped up to the mike and asked “Do we really need this new highway?” One of the answers was a stat that indicated the need is definitely apparent. Roy explained that currently Hwy 105 sees 11,000 vehicles a day and 15,000 on weekends.

Others at the info suggested that ambulance and emergency vehicles would have to drive farther and loop through traffic circles to get to the hospital, leading to an increase in response times.

Work on Phase 2, which extends 6.5 kilometres from Meech Creek to Wakefield, is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2011. Phase 3 will extend Hwy 5 one kilometre north of Wakefield.