The Circle Drive West project in Saskatoon is expected to make some changes to intersections at Circle Drive between Laurier and Clancy drives, but could also impede access to Montgomery Place.
A proposed plan on the City‘s website shows the southbound turnoff on to 11th Street being taken down in favour of a turnoff further down Circle Drive that would require traffic in both directions to go over a rail crossing.
Ward 1 city councillor Darren Hill took to Twitter, noting that emergency vehicle access would be restricted further than it already is.
Hill spoke with Global News on Thursday, saying that changes to the 11th Street turnoff weren’t discussed until the third public consultation in October 2021.
“So the scope of the project changed, and I don’t believe there has been proper consultation with the residents of the Montgomery area,” said Hill.
He said he doesn’t see a need to change access to 11th Street, and that money is tight and could be used elsewhere.
The Montgomery Place Community Association posted on its website on Monday a layout of the proposed plan, while also encouraging residents to reach out to Ward 2 councillor Hillary Gough, as well as members of the transportation committee to have their voices heard.
Denis Grimard lives in Montgomery Place, and said current access to and from Circle Drive is frustrating.
“It’s very frustrating when the trains are blocking our access. I’ve been blocked for as little as five or 10 minutes, but generally you’re looking at least 10 minutes, and I’ve been there for 50 minutes once, and that was a very frustrating day,” said Grimard.
He added that it’s rare for him to not get stopped by a train, and that he’s been late to things like his kid’s birthday parties because of it.
Gough also spoke with Global News, noting that residents have been calling for an overpass on to 11th Street that goes over the rail tracks.
“I’ve been getting calls to have an overpass there since during my first ever election campaign in 2016,” said Gough.
“It’s really understood to be the only complete solution to the rail delays and access issues in Montgomery, and I think that pairing these two projects together makes a lot of sense.”
She added that currently both straightforward accesses into Montgomery can be blocked off at the same time, which is a big concern for residents.
Gough also said that this is a long term plan, and that she doesn’t expect this project to get constructed in the next decade, and that there’s still time to get it right.