Sundre is going to try out three roundabouts as part of a year-long pilot project.
Hwy 27 goes right through the centre of town, which has led to traffic issues. Besides the danger of crossing the street, large vehicles have thrown stones and dust into the air, with enough force to crack shop windows in some cases.
To improve pedestrian safety and keep traffic flowing smoothly, Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation is proposing roundabouts at 2nd, 3rd and 4th Streets on Main Avenue.
Alberta Infrastructure spokesman Bob McManus said Hwy 27 is a high-load corridor and a key route for logging trucks.
The roundabouts are being installed to address concerns by residents and town council that when parking was banned on the section of Highway 27 that runs through Sundre traffic began to speed up, said McManus.
As well, the barrier created by parked cars that separated traffic from pedestrians was taken away.
“In order to provide the separation between the travel lane and the sidewalk we had to develop a plan that would reduce to one lane in each direction but still keep traffic flowing,” he said.
“We presented several options to Sundre town council, including back to back left turn bays and roundabouts. They chose roundabouts.
“The benefit of the roundabout is that it provides a traffic calming effect while still allowing traffic to move without stopping.”
Roundabouts will also ease traffic hold-ups created by left-turning vehicles and going to one lane in each direction leaves more room between pedestrians and traffic.
Installation of the roundabouts is expected to happen this summer. A final cost is not yet known.
Alberta Transportation has looked to roundabouts to solve a number of traffic bottlenecks in Central Alberta.
In Red Deer, roundabouts were opened at 67th Street and 30th Avenue and another two in the 67th Street and Orr Drive area.
One built at Hwy 11A and Hwy 20 just east of Sylvan Lake fixed a notoriously bad intersection that saw beach-goers vehicles lined up.
Another trouble spot was fixed just outside Blackfalds at Hwy 2A and Hwy 597 with a roundabout.