Vehicles await the approach of a train near the Southgate LRT station on Tuesday. ((CBC))

The new LRT traffic barriers which are causing long delays at 111th Street and 51st Avenue likely won't be fixed until Wednesday afternoon, according to a senior city official.

"We discovered the way traffic moves, the way the LRT trains arrive at that intersection, was creating the sort of perfect storm," said Bob Boutilier, the city's transportation general manager.

"For people to find themselves sitting in traffic for 10 or 15 minutes waiting to get through the light system — totally unacceptable."

Drivers like Gary McCooeye and Gisele Roy are finding the wait is too long.

"It's causing me grief, I'm not getting to my appointments on time," McCooeye said Tuesday afternoon.

"It's frustrating to have to wait the extra five minutes when it should be your turn," Roy said.

The problem began Monday, the first day rush hour commuters had to contend with trains on the new LRT extension on 111th Street.

City engineers tried to correct the problem without much success on Monday, so they were back at it again Tuesday.  


LRT tracks run down the centre of 111th Street between the Southgate and Century Park Stations. ((CBC))

According to Boutilier, the problem is caused by trains getting priority in going through the intersection.

During rush hour, trains are arriving at five-minute intervals, but if they arrive in different directions around the same time, drivers have to wait for both, losing their turn to cross the tracks.

"What we're looking at is adjusting the phase so that everyone gets an equal shot at getting through the intersection," Boutilier said.

Boutilier is advising drivers to take alternate routes over the next days until they get the problem resolved.  There have been no other problems reported with other intersections along the new LRT route, he said.

Edmonton is getting a new traffic control system within the next year that will automatically make adjustments based on traffic volumes, which should make these problems a thing of the past.