Two roundabouts will be built at the McKenzie Road overpass to improve access to Red Deer County’s Gasoline Alley.
The two intersections are now controlled with traffic lights but those will eliminated when the roundabouts are built this year as part of a $7.25 million dollar project. Construction is expected to begin this month and be completed in October.
As part of the road overhaul, the bridge over Highway 2 will also be upgraded so that it can be expanded to four lanes in the future.
Red Deer County council approved on Tuesday a $5.9 million tender from Border Paving for work on the project. Alberta Transportation is contributing $6.55 million and the county is covering the rest.
Alberta Transportation said the project is expected to create nearly 40 jobs and is part of the province’s recovery plan, which will see $10 billion spent on infrastructure this year.
The project is expected to improve traffic flow into the fast-growing Gasoline Alley area and set the stage for the eventual expansion of McKenzie Road to four lanes.
“These are easily two of our busiest intersections in all of the county,” said county manager Curtis Herzberg.
The project comes at the perfect time because the McKenzie Road bridge was nearing the 30-year mark when significant maintenance work is required.
“This is definitely an ideal situation,” said Herzberg, adding the province’s contribution allows for upgrades that will serve well into the future.
“This is really the Cadillac version.”
Herzberg said once complete the project’s impact on the area will be comparable to redesigning the interchange just to the north. That $80 million project began in 2016 and was completed in November 2018.
The project included five new bridges, new on and off ramps for northbound and southbound traffic, the widening and realignment of Highway 2 and the integration of the Taylor Drive and Gaetz Avenue interchanges.
Major detours will be required while construction is underway on the roundabouts. Temporary roads connecting the eastbound and westbound lanes of McKenzie Road with Highway 2 on the east side of the over pass will be in place. The temporary elimination of the intersection means that there will no longer be access to Gasoline Alley at McKenzie Road for northbound traffic.
On the west side of the overpass, two-lane detours allowing traffic from both directions to connect with Highway 2 and Leva Avenue will be built.
Mayor Jim Wood said once completed the improvements will benefit the businesses and residents in Gasoline Alley. He acknowledged that drivers will be inconvenienced until the work is done.
“We all know there’s a little pain with growth,” he said. “But there’s that big, big reward later on.”
Meanwhile, construction on another smaller roundabout in Gasoline Alley is about to begin.
Construction of a roundabout at Highway 2A and Township Road 372 will begin on Monday. The project will be completed in September 2021.
Signage and barricades will be in place, and a detour will be in effect.