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Thursday, Jul 11, 2019

Highway 7 Corridor Plan will guide future development in Town of Kindersley

Highway 7

The proposed Highway 7 and Main Street Intersection

The Town of Kindersley is a community in west central Saskatchewan with approximately 4,600 residents. Highway 7, which passes through Kindersley, is an important national transportation corridor that carries people, goods, and services between Saskatoon and Calgary. 

The five kilometre section of Highway 7 in Kindersley has three signalized intersections (one at a provincial highway), and eight unsignalized intersections. There are parallel service roads in close proximity on both sides of the highway, contributing to traffic operations and safety issues at the intersections. In 2016, Associated Engineering completed a safety evaluation of 40 towns, which identified this location as a priority for safety improvements. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure engaged our project team to examine traffic operations and safety improvements, including service roads. 

Project Manager, Shawn Fehr, tells us, “An online public survey of key issues garnered over 800 responses. These responses helped to establish eight key objectives, such as controlling speeding, adding lighting and other safety features, enabling trucks to safely access the service roads from the highway, and increasing safety for traffic turning onto the highway.” 

The Ministry wished to weigh the options of upgrading signals, in particular at locations that are vulnerable to collisions, or re-configuring the corridor without signals. The Ministry also wanted to balance mobility along Highway 7 for rural travelers and access to-and-from the highway for in-town travelers. 

Associated provided overall strategic direction and led meetings and workshops with a Steering Committee comprised of Ministry and Town representatives. Together, they established a common vision, objectives, and potential solutions. From this, Associated developed three corridor alternatives. 

Highway 7

Stakeholder Engagement and Transportation Planning Lead, Monique Beaudry, says, “We developed a traffic forecast for the 20-year buildout scenario and worked with the Steering Committee to create a feasible growth plan within the 20-year horizon, drawing on the Official Community Plan, third-party development plans, and previous studies. A key priority was minimizing impact on existing businesses.” 

“Stakeholder consultation was a major component of the project, which I felt was handled very well by AE... I was also pleased with the open lines of communication between the AE Project Managers and MHI...”
- Michelle Buchko, P.Eng., Government of Saskatchewan Project Manager

The team completed traffic modelling for the current day and 20-year buildout for the three corridor alternatives and a ‘do-nothing’ scenario. Also, high-level utilities review and cost estimates were prepared. 

Solutions include removing signals at two intersections, replacing one signal with a rural roundabout, and adding turning lanes at two intersections to accommodate increasing traffic. The solutions improve mobility and access to Kindersley. Alternatives were shared in a public open house and presented to Town Council, which subsequently endorsed the study.

The team documented the study in an Ultimate Corridor Plan, which will guide the Town and Ministry when planning future projects along the corridor. Key improvements recommended in the plan will be implemented in the next few years, including lighting and intersection upgrades.