LeClair Way ready to open
City hopes connection will drive development around Riel
By: By Megan Sarrazin
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 20, 2012 06:00 am
St. Albert’s newest link to Edmonton is days away from opening to traffic and city administration has high hopes it will boost business.
The connection from LeClair Way in Riel Business Park to 137 Avenue is expected to drive traffic – and most importantly, developers – to Riel after it opens Wednesday.
“Everything that we do in an infrastructure perspective that is making open lands that are undeveloped more accessible is a draw,” said Guy Boston, executive director of economic development. “All of this is going to support growth in this area.”
The new connector opens the Riel Business Park and surrounding areas to new customers, but also helps businesses that are transporting materials to or from the south, he said.
Boston said he anticipates this connector will encourage individuals holding lands west of Ray Gibbon Drive to finally kick start development plans.
There is no timeframe available for when developments might start springing up to occupy the vacant lands, he said, noting no projects are currently in the works in south Riel.
“That’s a crystal ball thing,” he said. “It means we’re trying very hard to attract investors to see the benefit of building here, but it’s out of our control. It’s between private land owners and potential investors.”
Aside from assisting businesses, the connector will also decrease traffic on Levasseur Road and Riel Drive, as Heritage Lakes' residents have direct access to Sir Winston Churchill Avenue and LeClair Way.
Sir Winston Churchill Avenue has been closed to commuter traffic south of Levasseur Road since May 14, when construction began. Despite a handful of delays, the stretch of road will open right on schedule.
Larry Galye, senior project manager with the City of St. Albert, said contractor workload and rainfall delayed the project two to three weeks, adding more work will be completed next year.
“The roadway will be open, but there’s still some trails and sidewalks that have to go in and landscaping that has to be completed, but that’s not critical to us opening the roadway,” he said.
The project is still awaiting completion of the railroad crossing at 137 Avenue, which is expected to be completed Monday.
“(CN has) a couple joints on the rails that they have to weld and that is the last component to finalize it. Without the weld, we can’t open the roadway,” Galye said, adding a weekend snowfall should not disrupt the weld.
The cost of the project was estimated at $7.1 million, and Galye said final numbers ring in around that mark.
Standard General was the contractor behind this final phase of construction, which was part of the Anthony Henday Drive connectors program.
The official opening is set to take place Wednesday morning, when city administrators and business representatives participate in a ceremony.
LeClair Way is named for former St. Albert mayor John LeClair, who served the city from 1945-46.