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The Ministry of Highways has completed a study on the intersection of Highway 1 and the Grand Coulee Access Road. The study looked at several options to keep highway traffic moving safely while improving access for commercial and residential traffic.
Next, we wanted to hear from you. A survey was completed in February, 2021 to get perspective from stakeholders on the project.
Who was asked to take the survey?
The Highway 1 and Grand Coulee Access Road intersection serves a mix of commuter, provincial and national traffic and is a critical link serving people and businesses in the RM of Sherwood (RM) and Town of Grand Coulee (Town). It is the first major intersection west of the Highway 1 and Regina Bypass interchange.
In 2018, a proposal for a commercial development near the highway was received from a developer wanting to build a gas bar with convenience store, two fast-food restaurants and a truck fuelling station. The study looked at modifications to improve safety and traffic flow at the intersection including turning lanes and acceleration lanes.
In 2020, the Ministry of Highways decided to study additional safety and traffic flow improvements at this intersection in order to improve traffic operations and delay the need for a potential overpass.
Traffic signals were not viable option. A major investment has been made on the Highway 1 Bypass and there is a need to maintain a 110 km/h speed on Highway 1. Traffic signals would reduce free flow conditions for traffic on Highway 1 and may surprise drivers, potentially leading to safety issues.
Intersection design options were developed based on current development plans by the RM and Town.
The study looked at several design options. A survey was then conducted to get the perspective of a wide variety of stakeholders.
The Rural Municipality of Sherwood Official Community Plan includes:
The Town of Grand Coulee Official Community Plan identifies development to the north and east of the existing town, including residential, commercial, business park and railway industrial land uses.
Some of the items considered when examining upgrades at intersections:
The timing of improvements will depend on surrounding residential and highway commercial development. There could be an opportunity to build in stages.
The study options examined within the project included:
For each option, you will find an illustration, description, advantages and disadvantages and a video description. There is also animation of the preferred option.
The base case option includes a right-turn lane for traffic travelling west on Highway 1. There is a left-turn lane for traffic heading east. There is also an eastbound acceleration lane for vehicles entering the highway from Grand Coulee Access Road.
Option 1 improves safety and traffic flow at the intersection by introducing two key features:
The directional island creates a T-intersection, which reduces the number of turns occurring, simplifies traffic operations and potential for collisions. Access to the area south of the intersection is available using a right-in/right-out.
The right-turn ramps remove the right-turning traffic from the Highway 1 and Grand Coulee Access Road intersection. The ramps reduce the number of conflicts, reduce the severity of potential collisions, and improve visibility for the intersection.
Option 2 allows trucks to queue in a wider median while turning. This is accomplished by moving Highway 1 eastbound lanes further south.
The right-turn ramps remove the right-turning traffic from the Highway 1 and Grand Coulee Access Road intersection. This allows drivers entering Highway 1 to focus on one direction of traffic at a time. The ramps reduce the number of conflicts, reduce the severity of potential collisions and improve visibility.
Acceleration lanes allow vehicles from Grand Coulee Access Road to accelerate up to 110 km/h prior to merging with Highway 1 traffic.
Option 3 eliminates left turns and through traffic from Grand Coulee Access Road. These drivers turn right onto Highway 1 and then make a U-turn at the median.
Left-turns from Highway 1 would be similar to a typical intersection.
This option replaces high-risk left turns at the intersection with less risky right turns. This results in fewer conflict points.
Example of traffic flow at peak hour traffic volumes:
Option 4 creates two T-intersections on Highway 1. The west intersection allows left-turns onto Grand Coulee Access Road. The east intersection allows left-turns from Grand Coulee Access Road. The intersections are joined using a single-lane roundabout.
It also includes right-turn ramps and acceleration/deceleration lanes to allow traffic to transition to/from highway speeds.
This option improves traffic flow and safety by allowing drivers to focus on one direction of Highway 1 traffic at a time. The intersection greatly reduces the number of conflict points and the severity of potential collisions. The separation of all turning movements improves visibility while turning.
Access to the south of Highway 1 and Grand Coulee Access Road will be available using a right-in/right-out.
This option rated the highest and is the preferred option.
This survey is now closed.
Thank you for your participation. Your input is valued.
That depends on the timing of residential and highway commercial development using the intersection.
We will consider building in stages, but this will depend entirely on development growth and resulting traffic demand. Our goal is to develop an intersection that will defer the need for a costly interchange.
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