By MARY-ANN BARR
Drivers have been slowly adjusting to major traffic changes in Red Deer as construction on the Gaetz Avenue/Hwy 2 interchange project is underway.
Alberta Transportation had to make an adjustment to roadway closures at the south end of Gaetz Avenue after last Saturday when a lot of drivers poured into the Southpointe Common shopping centre instead of onto the flyover that leads to Hwy 2.
The flyover was barricaded and closed off as of Oct. 1, and southbound Hwy 2 traffic is being diverted by way of 19th Street to Taylor Drive (Hwy 2A).
Julie MacIsaac, a public affairs officer with Alberta Transportation, said to further highlight the detour, the dedicated southbound turning lanes on 19th Street were subsequently closed to help resolve the problem encountered last Saturday by drivers.
“With the additional lane closures on 19th street, and local drivers becoming accustomed to the new detour, my understanding is the issue has been resolved.”
There were digital signs informing drivers of the change in place for two weeks; however, as with any significant change to a regularly used intersection, there were some issues as drivers encountered the detour, MacIsaac said.
Temporary traffic signals have been installed at the Taylor Drive (Hwy 2A) interchange ramp to handle additional traffic.
The Hwy 2 flyover at the end of Gaetz Avenue was closed for demolition and reconstruction as part of the $80-million Gaetz Avenue/Hwy 2 interchange improvement project.
One of the largest Alberta Transportation projects underway, it involves the removal of three bridge structures, constructing five new bridge structures, reconfiguration of ramps and intersections, realignment of Hwy 2, expansion to six lanes between 32nd Street and McKenzie Road and the construction of new collector-distributor roads.
It’s expected the project will be completed in the fall of 2018, before the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.
“We’ll be sticking to the construction schedule very closely and we do expect the Gaetz Avenue interchange to open before the Feb. 15 to March 3, 2019 Winter Games. We understand how important this project is to the Red Deer region and every effort will be made to complete this project before the Games,” MacIsaac said.
For more information and updates on the project, go to www.transportation.alberta.ca/5969.htm