The City of Yorkton is a major distribution centre for goods and services in the region. There are a number of major highways leading into Yorkton, and these highways connect to major city roads and key rural roads. As the area grows and new residential, commercial and industrial development occurs, traffic will increase. When there are more cars and trucks on the road, traffic patterns change as people drive to new neighbourhoods, and trucks need to access new facilities. If the roads aren't planned and designed properly, this can lead to traffic problems.
In response to these issues, the Ministry of Highways, City of Yorkton, RM of Orkney and RM of Wallace entered into a partnership to develop a long-range regional road network plan. The study focused on the traffic going into, out of and around the City of Yorkton, with the goal of ensuring that the planned road network can support future growth. It was important that all of the road planning agencies work together to ensure a successful plan for everyone in the region.
The consultant Associated Engineering was hired to complete the technical work, which included:
- collecting traffic data;
- establishing regional growth and development trends;
- building a traffic model; and
- developing road network options.
By building the model using existing traffic and then adding the new traffic that will come from planned regional development, the consultant was able to help predict future traffic levels on regional roads and test the network options.
The consultant gathered information from a number of stakeholders to help understand existing road network issues and future plans. This consultation included:
- discussions with the project partners through project meetings;
- interaction with the public at an information session; and
- workshop where municipal officials, staff and representatives from local businesses discussed options for the long-term road network.
The recommended regional road network plan is a high-level plan that identifies important potential regional connectors. The key short-term recommendation is the development of Grain Millers Drive as a primary weight road that can accommodate trucks year-round, supporting development in Yorkton's north industrial growth area. The intermediate term will see the construction of new regional roads that help connect trucks to Grain Millers Drive. In the long-term stage of the plan, a high-speed bypass could be constructed to serve highway traffic that wishes to have a free-flow route around the city.