County councillors signed off on a proposed road network through the Sturgeon Valley yesterday that would see the county create a new river crossing and a direct feed into the Anthony Henday.
Councillors formally endorsed the Sturgeon Valley Vision Transportation Study, which outlines possible future plans for a beefed up roadway network, park and ride facilities and transit in the Sturgeon Valley.
The transportation study is just one part of a wider report the county is working on the future direction of the valley that imagines as many as 30,000 people living there and a complete community with schools and a fire hall.
The new document doesn’t set anything in stone but gives a general direction for the county and guidance to developers and planners.
The most significant new road in the plan is an extension from 127 Street weaving through the county and across the Sturgeon River before connecting with Highway 2 just north of St. Albert.
The road would cross the Sturgeon River north of River Lot 56 and would intersect with Sturgeon Road, Bellerose Drive and Coal Mine Road.
A similar routing has being on the table for some time and the Anthony Henday is already planned to veer off in this direction at an interchange with 127 Street.
Coun. Tom Flynn, who represents much of the valley, said he believes the plan is a good starting point but more work still needs to be done.
He said starting the discussion is important but the public should not think these roads will be built quickly.
“It is pretty forward-thinking and a very long range sort of plan. It is probably 30 or 40 years away from being developed.”
Flynn said the county will be consulting widely with residents about the future of the valley in the years ahead as well as the road projects individually.
“It puts it on the table so we can get it out there and start the discussion.”
Flynn said the routing of 127 Street could happen sooner, but added the county would need provincial or even regional help to build the route.
“I think this is the perfect candidate for some type of regional co-operation, along with the province,” he said. “It basically becomes a bypass off the east side of St. Albert.”
Flynn said when the road is built it would have benefits to residents in the Sturgeon Valley, by creating easier access into Edmonton and also alleviating pressure from Sturgeon Road.
The transportation plan also envisions a continuation of the northeast arterial, which St. Albert is proposing to build through the annexed lands.
That road would head north and eventually link up with an interchange on Highway 37. The report also proposes a possible interchange with Sturgeon Road and Highway 28 at the Edmonton Garrison.
The report estimates the cost of these upgrades and new roads at a staggering $150 million.
Flynn said that number is enormous, adding the county would be looking for the province and regional players to remember how long range this plan is.
“The cost on an annualized basis is much less when you think of it over 30 or 40 years.”