June 12th, 2024

S. Boundary changing to mostly 70 km/h

By Collin Gallant on June 22, 2018.

This rural stretch of South Boundary road between Southridge Drive and Desert Blume is part of a longer section of the road which will be moving to a 70 km/h speed limit.--NEWS FILE PHOTO


The first recommendation is in from a review of speed limits on major routes in Medicine Hat, suggesting a more uniform standard along the city’s southern boundary.

City transportation planners said Wednesday that 70 kilometres per hour should be the rate of speed along most of South Boundary Road.

That would raise the limit between Southland and Southridge drives by 10 km/h, but lower it by 10 in rural stretches near Desert Blume. There would be no change from 50 km/h in other zones near shopping centres and the Seven Persons Creek, or the 40 km/h limit on the creek bridge.

The report to this week’s meeting of the development and infrastructure committee will in early July be forwarded to city council for information, and the change will be advertised, then enacted later in the month.

“A speed limit review is fairly complex,” said Stan Nowakowski, chief engineer in the municipal works department. He cited lanes, layout, access points, pedestrian use and traffic volumes as main considerations.

“Both (halves) have aspects of an 80 kilometre per hour design, but they’re at the high end,” he said

“Typically you set limits 10 kilometres lower than a road’s design speed — that’s best practice. And the 70 kilometres puts it in line with several other roads in the city, such as Parkview Drive and 23rd Ave (NW), where it’s 70 all the way from Ranchlands to Box Springs Road.”

Changes on Parkview Drive were the result of city council directing the department to study the northwest collector route — a constant sore-spot for motorists.

Early this year, planners told the committee they hoped to review one or two major roads this year.

However, a complete study of eight more major roads might have to wait until a city’s Municipal Development Plan is updated in early 2019.

South Boundary Road currently features four speed limits in five main zones, from the Trans-Canada Highway in the east, to Highway 3 in the west.

The area between Southlands Drive to Southridge Drive could accommodate 80 km/h traffic, Nowakowski says, but only after “significant” lighting, curb and sidewalk upgrades.

Roadway between Southridge Drive and the approach to the coulee, “a posted speed of 80 km/h is possible, but would require significant infrastructure upgrades in the very near future,” a rationale states.

Last year, the city repaved the section to smooth out the surface and create better drainage in the project that was partly paid for by Cypress County.

Currently, the route features a 50 km/h zone from the Trans-Canada Highway to Southlands Drive (south of major commercial areas). That rises to 60 km/h up to Southridge Drive, after which the mostly rural stretch has a limit of 80 km/h.

It drops again to 50 km/h after the turnoff to Desert Blume to where the road joins Highway 3 on the city’s westside. The exception is a low-level bridge over the Seven Persons creek, where the limit is 40.

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