February 23, 2018 9:30 am

Cartmell urges council to support upgrade of Terwillegar Drive

Looking north from a pedestrian overpass at Terwillegar Drive between 23 Avenue and Rabbit Hill Road in southwest Edmonton. September 26, 2013.

Karen Bartko, Global News

There’s a proposed plan to improve Terwillegar Drive south from the Whitemud that some southwest residents don’t see as an improvement at all. To the horror of some, the access point at 40 Avenue and Bulyea Drive would be cut off.

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That’s prompted Ward 9 Councillor Tim Cartmell to bring a motion to next Tuesday’s council meeting to stop the public consultation in its tracks and go back to the drawing board.

On Thursday, Cartmell told reporters improvements for drivers heading south on Terwillegar are about 30 years behind the times, and the multi-billion dollar price tag has led to reluctance to get the work done between Whitemud and Anthony Henday drives.

“We get so far and then we stop the process because it’s so expensive,” he said. As a result,  Cartmell said the motion that he’ll present next week will suggest breaking the project into smaller pieces.

“What I’m suggesting this time is we break it down into six or seven pieces or packages in the $75 million to $100-million range, that we advance two of those ideas immediately as part of the next capital plan and that we begin to build this thing in pieces and actually get started with development of the corridor.”

READ MORE: Plans in the works to convert Terwillegar Drive to freeway

This fall, city council will set in motion a four-year capital budget to take the city from 2019 through 2022.

By sending things back to the drawing board, Cartmell hopes a more acceptable concept plan can be created. That includes having the access to the Whitemud redesigned to send most traffic further south, while at the same time allowing other vehicles to turn off at the first intersection at 40 Avenue.

He’s also looking at including provisions for mass transit and even bike lanes along the corridor, but making sure there are neighbourhood access points at Rabbit Hill Road, 23 Avenue, Haddow Drive and 4o Avenue.

READ MORE: Another Terwillegar to Whitemud Drive ramp closure starts Wednesday night

Cartmell said eliminating that first neighbourhood access point would create all kinds of problems with having cars drive further south, only to circle back north into Riverbend through the neighbourhoods on Riverbend Road.

“Which passes by a number of playground zones, which leads to a freeway access (at 53 Avenue) that passes by three schools. It would not only limit access from the neighbourhoods immediately adjacent to 40 Avenue, but it would cause unbelievable congestion and angst and rancor all along Riverbend Road. It just does more damage than good.”

Cartmell also sees this as eventually leading into annexed land and Leduc County property near the Edmonton International Airport.

“It’s the corridor that leads us to the next big developments that the city has decided will be on the south side of the city in the next 40 years. So if we don’t get started on this corridor now… when do we? It gets ever more expensive.”

Cartmell posted a petition to restart the consultation on his blog and in the first few days, he had over 1,000 responses.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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