After an election pledge to fix traffic headaches along the St. Peters Road corridor, provincial staff outlined their $20 million plan for the area to East Royalty residents Thursday night.
The Progressive Conservatives had promised a comprehensive plan to address the increasingly heavy traffic on St. Peters Road from Riverside Drive up to Jewell’s Country Market. Residents in the area have complained of unsafe traffic volumes and long wait-times at neighbourhood lanes turning onto St. Peters Road. The concerns were a key issue during last July’s deferred election campaign in the district.
Speaking before an audience of about 100 residents at the Hillsborough Community Centre on Thursday, P.E.I.’s chief engineer Steven Yeo said the corridor sees about 1,500 vehicles per hour during peak times. The area is also facing increasing population growth; up to 1,100 new homes are expected to be constructed in the area over the next 10 years.
"Traffic will increase," Yeo said.
"We could be up to over 2,600 vehicles per hour turning down St. Peters Road [by 2029].”
Geoff Millen of the Dartmouth-based architecture firm WSP, said the construction of a displaced left-turn intersection could reduce auto collisions, and would be cheaper than other options.
"These intersections are designed to handle huge volumes of traffic,” Millen said.
Construction on the intersection is slated to begin this May, with completion planned as early as July.
In addition, the Province plans to begin widening the Wrights Creek bridge starting in August, expanding it from two lanes to four. A walkway running underneath the bridge is also planned.
St. Peters Rd. will also see the construction of three roundabouts, at Macrae Drive, Angus Drive (near the Mel’s Gas Station) and Macwilliams Road. The roundabouts will allow local residents to more safely turn onto St. Peters Rd. Work on these fixtures is planned to begin in Spring 2021, with completion expected the following July.
Changes Planned for St. Peters Road:
- Convert Riverside intersection to displaced left-turn intersection
- Widen Wrights Creek bridge from two to four lanes
- Add three roundabouts at Macrae, Angus and Macwilliams roads
- Construct an active transportation corridor along St. Peters Road.
Pedestrian walkways are planned near each roundabout and an 8 ft. active transportation lane, allowing for bike paths, is planned for the East side of St. Peters Rd.
A roundabout was completed last summer at the corner of St. Peters Rd., Northwood Rd. and Northridge Parkway.
Yeo said the total $20 million cost of the projects will be shared between the provincial and federal governments. He said there may be some traffic delays, but department staff have been able to keep the flow of traffic moving on past projects.
"We've got lots of practice in moving traffic in peak times, similar to what we did across the Hillsborough Bridge this fall," Yeo said.
Scott Lewis, a local resident, said he appreciated the thought that had been put into the changes. But Lewis said he was concerned about the impact new housing would have on the L.M. Montgomery Elementary School on MacWilliams Rd.
“Some are concerned with the development that's on East Royalty Road, which is the next upper east road,” Lewis said.
Lewis said increased traffic on East Royalty Road could impact the routes for school buses.
Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park MLA Natalie Jameson declined to offer an opinion on the proposed changes. She said she was pleased to see the commitment from Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy staff.
"I'm going to take a couple of days to process the information and then to sort of go back to residents," she said.