Springbank residents frustrated with ring road construction closure
Alberta Transportation closing 101st Street and Highway 8 intersection ahead of schedule
Alberta Transportation is permanently closing the intersection at 101st Street and Highway 8 ahead of schedule due to concerns over drivers doing unsafe U-turns to avoid lengthy west ring road construction detours.
Nearby residents in Springbank were expecting the road to remain open until the opening of the west ring road in 2024. Now they're frustrated.
"It's the main conduit between the Highway 8 corridor and Springbank," said Springbank Community Association president Karin Hunter. "Our community is effectively cut off."
Dangerous manoeuvres and U-turns started in June, Hunter said, when the government changed the intersection overnight, putting up no left-hand turn signs for those leaving 101st Street and going to Highway 8, and vice versa.
"They made it unsafe when they closed the left-hand turns," Hunter said. "Instead of trying to remedy the problem that they caused and fix it, they've just, sort of, bowed out and said, fine, we'll just shut it all down. It almost feels a bit punitive, to be honest."
Twice a day, Christy Mitchell used the intersection to get from Calgary to her stables in Springbank and check on the horses. She's not sure how to make up an extra hour in her day, due to the lengthy detours.
"Especially if there's an emergency at the barn, I'm going to have to get there quickly," Mitchell said. "I hate to have to increase speed into the neighbourhoods, but I can imagine that speed is going to be a factor for everyone in the neighbourhoods now, for sure."
Residents believed road would stay open
Public information sessions before the west ring road construction gave many in the area the impression that the 101st Street and Highway 8 intersection would be controlled by a temporary traffic light for the duration of construction. Then the closure would come into effect when construction was complete in 2024.
"For some reason, plans have changed," said the president of the Pinebrook Estates Homeowners Association, Greg Josiak. "It's still two years, at least, before the highway is going to be done. And that's the part we don't understand."
According to the transportation minister's office, this announcement moves up the plan to close the intersection by only a couple of weeks. Originally, the 101st Street and Highway 8 intersection was to close in October for construction, but safety concerns bumped up the date.
This is why installing a light, press secretary Rob Williams said, didn't make sense.
Detours use 69th Street and 17th Avenue S.W.