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Eckville wants roundabout at busy Highway 11 intersection

Highway 11 twinning plans do not include roundabout at Highway 766

Eckville-area residents concerned about a dangerous Highway 11 intersection want to see a roundabout added to highway twinning plans.

Eckville Mayor Colleen Ebden said residents who attended a recent update on the twinning project by Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors staff were not happy that there were no plans to include a roundabout at Highway 11 and Highway 766.

The intersection is a well-known local trouble spot, especially for those coming from Eckville who want to turn left to head east.

Ebden said the most recent design not only does not include a roundabout but appears to leave little room between the east and west highway lanes for the large trucks and farm equipment that regularly use the intersection.

“Somebody’s going to get hurt because they can’t fit in the little laneway between the two roads,” said Ebden.

Besides industry, Highway 11 is busy with recreational traffic heading to the West Country and the intersection is used by commuters from Eckville heading east and west.

“If you tried to get going east from Eckville on a Friday night, or even a Thursday, you’d see a long wait to just try and cross safely to get to the middle,” she said. “We just really need a roundabout.”

Ebden said a Highway 766 roundabout was included in early twinning designs, but got dropped at some point for an at-grade intersection.

“Nobody knows why.”

Eckville council plans to reach out to other municipalities to get their support for a lobbying effort to try to convince transportation officials to put a roundabout at Highway 766 back in the plans. Sylvan Lake, Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House, and Red Deer, Lacombe and Clearwater Counties will be approached and following the election letters will be sent to the transportation minister and the local MLA highlighting concerns.

With construction still likely at least a year away from the Eckville intersection, there is time to change the plan, said Ebden.

Lacombe County Coun. Dana Kreil’s division includes the intersection and she is just as concerned.

“There’s many times that’s a dangerous turn — especially on a weekend where there are trucks with big fifth-wheels going at mach speed there,” said Kreil.

“But almost any time it can be a dangerous turn.”

Kreil has brought area concerns to the attention of council to see if the county can lend its voice to a lobbying effort for a roundabout.

County council is due to meet with Alberta Transportation officials next month to discuss road issues throughout the county and the Highway 11 and 766 intersection has been added to the list of topics.

Construction is well underway in the project to twin 66 kilometres of highway from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House.

The $15 million first phase has been completed which saw a four-km stretch of highway twinned west of Highway 20 and the construction of roundabouts at Highway 781 (50th Street) and Range Road 15 (60th Street). Work is now underway between Benalto and Leslieville intersections.

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Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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