Uncertainty continues to swirl around the proposed upgrade of the Yellowhead Trail.
All too often, the Yellowhead Trail becomes a parking lot during rush hour. And with traffic volumes expected to double in the next 30 years, the City warns it will only get worse.
The City’s Traffic Safety Office says over the last 10 years, 1000 crashes a year happen on the Yellowhead, and the subsequent traffic jams are already costing us.
To compensate, planners want to make a 25km stretch of the road free-flowing, converting intersections to overpasses, and widening the road in certain spots.
One question is, how the project will affect businesses lining the Yellowhead. Mayor Don Iveson met with several business owners on Monday, but that didn’t quiet the worries of Brian Christou.
Owner of Chris’ Auto, Christou admits, the upgrade is a good project overall, but he still has questions.
“For the development of the city, I think it’s a really good idea.” says Christou. “I think for a period of time it’s going to hurt my business as drive-by traffic. I haven’t quite seen if they’re going to elevate the road, drop the road, or keep it surface, so I don’t know what it’s going to hold for us.”
The upgrade take 10 years, and cost $1-billion. The City is trying to secure $242-million each from the Province and Ottawa.
Right now, the Feds seem ready to commit, but are still waiting for the Province to sign on.
Mayor Don Iveson understands the Notley Government is strapped, but worries if it doesn’t invest, those Federal dollars could be redirected to another part of Canada.
“I think at this point we’re moving towards a critical stage” says Iveson, “where their confidence and investment in this project would mean an awful lot not just to the business people who are trying to make ago of it here now, but to the greater economy of Northern Alberta in terms of stimulus.”
A report from Shirocca Consulting says that with the upgrade of the Yellowhead, Edmonton would improve its position “as a goods and logistic supply centre.” (ms, Global News)