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Edmonton traffic engineers to release Strathcona safety plan Monday

WATCH ABOVE: A big traffic change is in the works for Edmonton's Scona Road. As Sarah Komadina reports, the city is unveiling plans for the intersection on the top of the hill and it includes eliminating a popular free-flow lane.

After a couple of rejections sent engineers back to the drawing board, a new intersection design will be unveiled to Strathcona residents that’s intended to make life safer for pedestrians.

Vision Zero and the Office of Traffic Safety captured a number of close calls in the crosswalk as drivers suddenly hit the brakes, while pedestrians jumped back when vehicles were turning right to go west on Saskatchewan Drive off southbound Scona Road.

The eventual solution is to decrease the crossing distance for those on foot and make the right-hand turn less sweeping, said Ryan Drummond, the project manager for the redesign.

READ MORE: Edmonton auditor calls for more follow-up work on crosswalk safety

“That turn will be eliminated on red lights so you’ll only be able to make that turn during green lights,” he said ahead of Monday night’s open house.

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“We’re removing that free-flow traffic that goes up the hill to go onto Saskatchewan Drive. Then we’re kind of creating this intersection to act more like a majority of intersections throughout the city. It’ll be a shorter crossing and that free-flow nature will be eliminated.”

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READ MORE: City committee puts the brakes on decision to increase speed limit on Scona Road

It’s the second crack this year to get the intersection right.

Drummond said an earlier version of it was turned down by the community. That one was going to eliminate the right turn on red for drivers heading east, wanting to go south on 99 Street.

That rejected idea was proposed when another nearby project, the overall rehabilitation design of Old Strathcona, had a bunch of one-way roads suggested. The community said no to both, fearing frustrated drivers would try to short-cut through the neighborhood.

READ MORE: Man, 33, killed in motorcycle crash on Scona Road

“Once we engaged the community and got the feedback, we ultimately decided to maintain that right turn,” Drummond said.

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The four-hour drop-in to show the revised plans will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Strathcona Community Hall (10139 – 87 Ave.).

The goal is to get the contractor in place by the end of the week. Drummond said then they’ll work out a construction schedule to make sure they don’t impact any of the nearby festivals and special events.

“Every intention, as of today, is to build it this year.”