Valley Line LRT construction is about to do away with the traffic circle at the northern edge of Bonnie Doon Mall.
Work begins Thursday, Aug. 8 to convert the existing roundabout into a traditional intersection for 83 Street and 85 Street at 90 Avenue and Connors Road.
“When you’re going north on 83 Street you will not be able to turn right,” TransEd’s Dean Heuman said at a media briefing on Tuesday. “The train will be on your right hand side. You will not be turning right onto 90 Ave.”
At the same time, lanes on 83 Street between 82 Avenue and the traffic circle will be temporarily reduced to one lane in each direction.
Traffic will be shifted to the east side of the road for approximately three weeks. Once this work is complete, traffic will shift to the west side of the road for approximately three weeks. This work is to install rail bed and rail in this area.
“The reason we’re doing that is the LRT tracks actually come across the road at a particular angle,” Heuman said.
“In order build that track we have to squeeze down and get more space to build it. That’s a one-month process starting on Saturday, Aug. 9. Then before school starts we’ll be putting it back to two lanes in each direction.”
The work there will also coincide with construction of new sidewalks. “That’s the whole idea — that once we bring traffic in, we can pour all the sidewalks and all the pieces that will allow for the permanent pedestrian access.”
“There will actually be safer and better pedestrian access at the intersection than there ever was at the traffic circle.”
At least one long-time area resident is convinced the changes will frustrate neighbours.
“I’ve always found that that traffic circle, the traffic flowed very well,” Skyeanne Jenkins said. “I got to go wherever I wanted to go. I used it almost daily. So I’m really not looking forward to it.”
She said that as work on the LRT track progressed, residents have started to realize how the changes will affect their communities.
“I’m going to probably evade it for a while until I see how it’s working,” Jenkins said. “I’m just going to plan my route to possibly go around it so I don’t have to go there for a while.”
Heuman said TransEd has worked with Alberta Health Services to accommodate ambulance movement in the area.
“It’s a 24-hour-a-day ambulance bay so accessing in and out of there is vitally important. We’ve had many meetings with them. They’ve been fully informed all the way along and are very comfortable with what the process is going to be.”
The 27-kilometre Valley Line LRT will run from Mill Woods in the city’s southeast through downtown Edmonton to Lewis Farms in the far west end of the city. Phase one from Mill Woods to downtown is scheduled to open by December 2020, but the P3 contractor has acknowledged it’s behind schedule.
The line is being built as a P3 project by TransEd: a four-company consortium made up of Bombardier Transportation, engineering firm Bechtel, construction company EllisDon and Fengate Capital Management.
— With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News
WATCH: Video explaining the traffic changes.