ADAM JACKSON/Black Press
After nearly a year of planning and studying, Alberta Transportation and Delcan Corporation have come up with a solution to solve issues with Highway 56 — a roundabout.
At a public information session on June 16, the two groups compiled ideas from a previous public information session and presented the final decision to install a roundabout.
The ideas were compiled from an information meeting on March 3.
“The advantage to the roundabout is that traffic doesn’t stop,” said Delcan engineer Justin Barrett, who explained that roundabouts have worked in other parts of Alberta such as Highway 11A and Highway 20 near Sylvan Lake.
According to Barrett, the main advantage is that it helps to decrease the speed of traffic without forcing drivers to come to a complete stop.
“If people are familiar with the roundabout near Sylvan Lake, it’s a pretty good example of what might end up in Stettler,” said Barrett.
Alberta Transportation and Delcan plan to install the roundabout just north of Stettler at the intersection of Highway 56 and 52nd Avenue. Another section of the highway just north of 51st Avenue would be built to ease turning for large vehicles.
Although attendance was down by nearly 70 people at the June 16 meeting, Barrett thinks it could be a positive sign.
“Obviously we would have liked to have seen more people come out,” said Barrett. “Anecdotally, from talking to the people who attended, it sounded like there were more people who thought they were directly impacted at the first meeting, but then after the first meeting they realized that it didn’t affect them.”
The idea to realign with the installation of a roundabout was approved by both the County of Stettler and the Town of Stettler, as a part of the stipulations for the plan.
“Both councils really didn’t see a problem with the plan,” said Barrett.
As for the concern of driver education and how to use roundabouts, Alberta Transportation has an information package available on its website at www,transportation.alberta.ca/3644.htm.
Now that the planning stages are complete, the only question left is when the realignment will be done.
“It is not on the Alberta Transportation three-year plan,” said Barrett.
The three-year plan is a tentative schedule that Alberta Transportation has set up between 2011 and 2014.
“The project will be driven by traffic and motorist demands, but as far as I know, the project is not a part of the three year plan,” said Barrett.
“As development occurs in Stettler and as traffic vines grow on Highway 56, they will start looking at that as a potential project.
Since the project is still in the planning stages, there has been no cost assessment done for the realignment.