Regina residents pushing city council to halt semi-truck traffic on 9th Avenue N until road is re-built
The Trucking Association of Sask. says this will add to time and gas needed by truckers
Mark McFie says he has to keep his windows shut in the middle of summer because of the semi-truck noise behind his house.
He's part of a group of residents asking the City of Regina to ban heavy truck traffic on the narrow road — however, the ban is not because of the noise. Instead, it's the safety, McFie is concerned about.
"The way it is and the speed limits that you have and there's no shoulders, somebody is going to get seriously hurt or killed on this road," McFie said. "We've heard near misses … It's an accident waiting to happen."
McFie is asking the city council to ban heavy truck traffic until the road is redone with a middle median, shoulders on both sides and the road is built to handle the new traffic from the Regina bypass.
The Saskatchewan Trucking Association said in a statement that it firmly opposes having 9th Avenue N banned as a commercial truck route.
"Removing commercial truck access on this portion of 9th Avenue North will increase travel time, increase carbon emissions, increase fuel consumption and increase overall operational costs for many businesses reliant on essential goods," the statement said.
The statement said trucks going to Loblaws have been using that route, but closing it would add about 32 kilometres round trip. It also said since the city closed Dewdney Avenue to commercial trucks, 9th Avenue N is the "only logical option" to access the northwest part of Regina.
Off-ramp came as a surprise
McFie said before the bypass, trucks had been using other routes to get to where they needed to go.
"So they know how to get around it. They're using it as a shortcut and they're using all of us as an excuse to keep them on," McFie said.
McFie said all the current traffic came as a surprise because when the bypass was originally being planned at a public forum meeting, the design didn't have an off-ramp onto 9th Avenue N.
"We were deceived," McFie said. "We never once were told that it was going to be a heavy truck route. So we were never, ever aware of that until they opened the bypass."
As a result of it not initially planned to be hooked up to the bypass, the road design wasn't where he thought it should be, McFie said.
McFie said he contacted the Minister of Highways and Infrastructure Greg Ottenbreit, Regina mayor Michael Fougere, his local city councillor and his local MLA, Laura Ross. He said Ross did stop by to see the trucks in the backyard, and agreed it was unsafe.
We already know in this province and I have seen, you know, what kind of damage trucks can do when they hit vehicles.- Mark McFie
"You can bring the trucks back there, as far as I'm concerned," he said. "But you need to build that road properly."
McFie said he wants the road doubled with a median and a berm put up for residents.
Notice of motion introduced
At the Regina city council meeting on Oct. 6, Ward 9 Councillor Jason Mancinelli introduced a notice of motion to discuss the change at city council.
Mancinelli's safety adjustment said the new transportation patterns brought by the Regina bypass have endangered safety locally because of the high speeds, nearby housing and design of roads.
The notice of motion also says the cost to fix the roads will exceed $10 million and the funding stream and availability will be decades away. It also said the Government of Saskatchewan has provided a solution that "greatly reduces the danger of the current situation," however, the details were not included in the notice.
With Mancinelli's notice of motion, a discussion will be held at the Oct. 26 city council meeting. McFie said the local residents have been discussing who will be there to speak on behalf of the neighbourhood.
"We already know in this province and I have seen, you know, what kind of damage trucks can do when they hit vehicles," McFie said. "We don't want to see that happen."