A reprieve for south side motorists. That closure Saturday of the 127 street off ramp from the Anthony Henday is not going to happen. The closure is now on ‘pause’ confirmed Mayor Don Iveson.
“They’re backing off closing it for now while we continue to explore alternatives,” he told reporters. “That was the best we could hope for at this point. It indicates responsiveness and collaboration which we very much appreciate from our friends at the Legislature.”
With some time bought the two sides will look at alternatives for access to the neighborhood there, and the long term plan to build an interchange at 135th street. At the heart of things is a discussion about who pays for what?
“That’s one of those things we need to work through. We understand there will be some cost to the city of these works and the province’s position is that building that interchange is 100 per cent at a cost to the city.”
Iveson said the city is trying to convince the province to at least donate provincially owned land there. “Whether the province can contribute that to these projects because it’s surplus to the transportation and utility corridor and it would be used for transportation purposes. We have some details to work through but this reprieve gives us time to do that.”
The province surprised the city by announcing a November 12 closure. That prompted an emergency motion from the Ward 9’s Coun. Bryan Anderson which at Tuesday’s council meeting prompted the Mayor to write Transportation Minister Brian Mason.
One thing that council learned during the debate was the province had incorrect data on the number of collisions at 127th street. The two sides since then talked and came to an agreement to halt the closure, and talk some more on long term solutions to improving north and south traffic in the area.
“There’s obviously some work to do,” Iveson said. “We presented some possible alternatives in terms of staging what would be long term construction for the eventual interchange at 135 street. Could we build some of the on and off ramp for that sooner so that it would work a little better than the stubby ramps and turn bays that exist at 127. Then ultimately have time to figure out how to integrate that into the park’n’ride facility that we’re funding with, provincial and federal grants to move ahead and build in the near term.”
Eventually they’ll need access from there down to Ellerslie rd for a park’n’ride by 2020, after the one at Century Park LRT closes.