The intersection at Hwy 20 and Erickson Drive will soon see a roundabout to help with the noticeable traffic congestion there. Photo Courtesy of Google Maps

Sylvan Lake Council reallocates over $1 million for intersection upgrades

The intersection at Erickson Drive and Hwy 20 will see improvements this construction season

Sylvan Lake Town Council has approved the reallocation of over $1 million to upgrade the intersection at Hwy 20 and Erickson Drive.

Council had previously budgeted $1,255,000 for the project.

The additional $1,145,010 will be reallocated from the Street Rehabilitation Program and transportation offsite reserves.

The additional funds would cover costs associated with Fortis as well as a 10 per cent contingency.

The intersection, made popular by Tim Horton’s on the corner and many industrial businesses located on Erickson Drive, tends to become congested easily.

Town staff noted vehicles travelling on Hwy 20 ignore signs telling motorists not to pass vehicles on the right at the intersection, while vehicles exiting onto Hwy 20 have difficulties merging.

The Town worked with McElhanney Engineering to determine how best to improve the intersection.

“After performing a traffic warrant study, and consulting with Alberta Transportation and the Town of Sylvan Lake it was decided that a single lane roundabout treatment, with the ability to be expanded into a two lane roundabout, was the preferred option for upgrading the intersection,” Project Manager Eric Boudreau said at the council meeting.

A detailed design was presented to Alberta Transportation in early 2019 and staff were then told the intersection must have a 40 year lifespan.

“This late requirement from AT pushed the tendering of the project out by three months and significantly increased the project cost from the estimated $1,255,000 to the tender price of $1,914,801.00, a difference of $660,000,” said Boudreau.

Council awarded the project to Pidherney’s Inc. from Blackfalds who claim to be able to complete the project within 90 work days.

In order to do so, Pidherney’s requested to work through the night on the project, saying the more complicated construction items will be less likely to disturb traffic patterns in the night.

“The total project of $2,400,000 includes $1,914,801 for tendered project costs; $215,000 engineering fees; $50,000 Fortis costs; and $217,980 as contingency,” the council package states.

The reallocation of funds for the intersection will disrupt other projects planned for Sylvan Lake.

Namely, the Town will be unable to repair Willow Springs Crescent this construction season. Boudreau says the repairs to the crescent will be delayed until 2020.

The Town will still be able to modify the intersection at Hwy 20 and Herder Drive, pending approval from Alberta Transportation. Minor street repairs in Hewlett Park and other areas in town will still be completed.

CAO Wally Ferris said in the council package that future construction projects will have the budgeting process adjusted to accommodate the higher costs associated with the new standards Alberta Transportation is looking for.

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