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Tim Horton's and Highway 18 lights discussed at meeting between town and province

A meeting between Westlock’s administration and Alberta Transportation representatives last week was a productive one, CAO Darrell Garceau says. Progress was made on two fronts.
The design of the improvements to the intersections at the corner of Highway 44 and 106 St. (pictured) and 104 St. has been approved by Alberta Transportation, and the work
The design of the improvements to the intersections at the corner of Highway 44 and 106 St. (pictured) and 104 St. has been approved by Alberta Transportation, and the work has been tendered. Tenders are expected back within a few weeks, town CAO Darrell Garceau said.

A meeting between Westlock’s administration and Alberta Transportation representatives last week was a productive one, CAO Darrell Garceau says.

Progress was made on two fronts. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the changes that will need to be made on Highway 44 to accommodate a proposed Tim Horton’s development, but Garceau said they also discussed the issue of light control on Highway 18 near the UFA.

With respect to the Tim Horton’s development, which is proposed for the southeast corner of Highway 44 at 106 St., Garceau said the Alberta Transportation representative and the town’s engineering consultant, George Welsh from ISL, discussed the proposed design.

“ISL services were engaged to design the highway improvements at the particular locations on the highway, and the purpose of the meeting was just to vet that with Alberta Transportation representatives,” Garceau said.

The changes, which include widening the highway, adding left-turn lanes, improving the curb and gutter and relocating lights at both 106 St. and 104 St., have been approved by Alberta Transportation. As a result the project will be put out to tender and the result should be back within a few weeks, which will provide a cost estimate for the work.

“The purpose is to get an idea of what the cost might be for those highway improvements, which is a requirement for that Tim Horton’s franchise to go ahead,” he said.

Garceau noted the improvements were required to accommodate the expected increase in traffic along that highway that will result from a Tim Horton’s and as such the town will not be on the hook for the costs.

“The developer will be responsible for those improvements,” he said. “This is not a Town of Westlock cost.”

With respect to the issue of lights on Highway 18 and 108 Ave., Garceau said he also took the opportunity at the meeting to again address this issue with Alberta Transportation.

“As a result of that discussion, the rep from the Athabasca office of Alberta Transportation agreed that if we forward to her attention the traffic impact assessment that was undertaken a year and a half ago, she would revisit it,” he said.

That assessment showed traffic counts at about three quarters of the threshold the department requires to automatically install signal lights, but Garceau said numbers have increased somewhat since the assessment was done.

Furthermore, if numbers are within 10 per cent of that threshold, the department will seriously consider the issue of installing lights.

Who will bear the cost of the installation, however, is still to be determined.

“Given it’s a provincial highway, Westlock town council’s expectation would be it would be a cost borne by the province, given it’s their highway,” Garceau concluded.