Edmonton to look at ways to ease future Jasper Avenue traffic delays

The city is looking into ways to keep traffic moving smoothly on Jasper Avenue when reconstruction and other major infrastructure projects are expected to begin as early as 2020.

Imagine Jasper Avenue project could begin in 2020

City officials will look at the impacts to traffic the Jasper Avenue reconstruction project will have when it is expected to begin in 2020. (Lydia Neufeld/CBC)

The City of Edmonton is looking into ways to keep traffic moving from west Edmonton to downtown during two major construction projects.

A council committee passed a motion Thursday asking staff to look into the impact on traffic the Imagine Jasper Avenue  Project — reconstruction from 109th Street to 124th Street — and the Valley Line West LRT will have when they begin.

City staff will also review traffic mitigation options like reversible lanes, smart traffic signals and traffic couplets as part of Thursday's motion.

Options for traffic mitigation are being considered as several projects like the Valley Line West LRT, the future expansion of the downtown bike network and the Jasper Avenue New Vision could overlap with the Imagine Jasper Avenue reconstruction project, which is expected to begin in 2020.

According to the report for the executive committee, the reconstruction project could take three to four years to complete.  

Travel time increases

City officials estimate commuters travelling between west Edmonton and downtown could have more time added to their commute once the Jasper Avenue construction work and other major projects begin. 

The report states commuters driving to the west end from downtown could see their trip grow by eight minutes in 2027, when considering current and upcoming construction projects. 

Coun. Andrew Knack wants city administration to look at all options when it comes to decreasing traffic delays. 

One of his suggestions includes starting one major project at a time, then closing parts of one road under construction to traffic — like the reconstruction portions of Jasper Avenue — so construction work can happen quickly.

"In this case, I think it would be better for business, I think it would be better for the commuters to have that no access at all.

"Then let them work from morning to night, power through everything you need to and then we're done. Then we get to open it up and then everyone can drive on a nice, beautiful new road," Knack said. 

City officials said the construction start for many of the projects in question like Imagine Jasper Avenue are still unconfirmed as they will be debated during the 2019-22 capital project discussions later this year.

"It all comes back to priorities. We have lots of them and somehow we need to start looking at prioritizing some of them as it relates to infrastructure," said Jason Meliefste, infrastructure planning and design branch manager.  

Administration is expected to have more details on the impact the Imagine Jasper Avenue and the Valley Line West LRT projects will have on traffic by Oct. 29.