By Medicine Hat News on August 12, 2021.
Medicine Hat’s most well-known U-turn is no longer an option.
The city of Medicine Hat announced Wednesday that U-turns from First Street SE onto S. Railway Street downtown will no longer be permitted, effectively immediately.
New signage has been posted to alert motorists of the change, which has been enacted to accommodate ongoing construction as well as design plans for the Towne Square section of the Waterfront District.
“Towne Square and the Waterfront District are designed to be pedestrian-friendly. We’re creating a walkable community that will bring people to the downtown,” Ian Hakes, project manager of land development with Invest Medicine Hat, says in a release from the city. “This is the first step to improve the traffic network in the downtown core, based on recommendations within a traffic assessment completed for the Towne Square. A larger scale traffic study is currently underway for the overall downtown core.”
The release adds that part of the Towne Square development includes expansion of the side and sidewalks into the road right-of-way, “reshaping the lane alignments and creating a food truck alley.” First Street SE will be narrowed after the Sixth Avenue intersection as a result.
“Construction fencing currently impedes the roadway, making the U-turn maneuver dangerous for vehicles and crews on site,” Hakes says in the release. “Safety of our residents and work crews are always our first priority.”
The release concludes by stating the city is working alongside Medicine Hat Police Service to educate motorists before resorting to enforcement measures.
The intersection of Division Avenue and Third Street S will close to traffic on Monday until mid-fall to allow for work on aging infrastructure on Division.
Pedestrian traffic will also be detoured around the work zone.
The construction will replace water and sanitary mains, however additional work on gas infrastructure and geometric improvements will be conducted in order to prevent multiple disruptions in the area.
Rough-cut mowing operations have resumed and crews have begun working on areas adjacent to roadways throughout Medicine Hat.
“This style of mowing occurs on non-manicured grassed areas, including dryland areas and grassed medians,” reads a city release.
Craig Maunder, operations engineer with the City of Medicine Hat, says in the release that forecasted moisture and cooler temperatures should allow for the work to be completed within the next four to five weeks.
The city maintains around 150 kilometres of rough-cut mowing along roads and 115 kilometres on trails each year, according to the release. Work on areas adjacent to trail systems will begin next week, while regular mowing operations in irrigated park spaces will continue on its regular schedule.
Parks and Recreation has received a report of a potential cougar sighting in the area of Echo Dale Park, the city announced Monday.
Signs have been posted throughout the area, and anyone using the park is encouraged to exercise caution and awareness of surround, children and pets at all times.