Prior to the start of any roadway project, the Transportation Division undertakes traffic studies that help us understand and account for traffic patterns in the area.
Transportation Infrastructure Priorities
With the advent of the Integrated Growth Plan and its related projects the Transportation Division undertook a Comprehensive evaluation of proposed major transportation projects and has prepared a 10-year transportation priorities list.
With the development of the 10-year infrastructure priorities list the City identified current capacity, levels-of-service and collisions and also forecasted traffic conditions for a city population of 300,000.
Initially, 52 major infrastructure projects were identified, including arterial road segments; interchanges; railway grade separations; and river crossings. All of these projects were then evaluated and ranked with respect to their overall contribution to the transportation system, including: city-wide user benefits; network connectivity; facilitation of land development; and whether the project addressed an existing or future need.
While each project has its own merits, it was also important to evaluate them as groups of projects. For example, a river crossing bridge may be of high value, but only if there is a roadway system that connects to it.
Several iterations of the list were undertaken in order to develop a list that represents the immediate (10-year) projects that have the highest benefit to the transportation system for the investment required.
The projects have been grouped together according to development area and a 10-year implementation strategy has been developed.
Projects related to North Commuter Parkway Project
The NCPP Project includes the extension of Central Avenue to Attridge Drive and improvements to the Attridge Drive and Central Avenue intersection. The Idylwyld Drive and Marquis Drive intersection forms a key connection to this roadway network. The construction of an interchange at this location prior to the introduction of additional traffic from the NCPP is required to ensure efficient traffic flow through the intersection. If it is not completed in concert with the NCPP being open to traffic, the intersection will have a very poor level of service.
The value of the Traffic Bridge was established by the Traffic Bridge Needs Assessment and Functional Planning Study, and its value to pedestrian and cycling traffic would be realized immediately upon completion.
The Traffic Bridge has been bundled with the NCPP and submitted to PPP Canada with the goal of this approach funding the project.
Development Driven Projects
A variety of transportation infrastructure projects have been identified as part of previous or current land development and city growth initiatives. These projects have been identified with timing associated with the level of growth and development completion.
Functional Planning Studies
Highway 11 / Highway 16 Interchange Functional Planning Study
A Functional Planning Study for the Highway 11 and Highway 16 Interchange was completed to determine what improvements can be made to improve the safety and function of the interchange.
The junction of Highways 11 & 16 in southeast Saskatoon is currently operating as a 1960’s era cloverleaf interchange. Both highways are considered National and Provincial primary routes and any future interchange will require a system-level interchange function and need to be flexible for conversion to an urban service-level interchange in the future.
The Stonebridge partial interchange opened in the fall of 2016 and has facilitated additional traffic through the cloverleaf interchange.
Scope of Functional Planning Study
The objectives of the Functional Planning Study were to:
- Improve overall traffic operations at this junction
- Reduce collisions (improve safety)
- Add capacity for critical movements
- Facilitate good interconnections between the two provincial highways
- Minimize environmental impacts
- Minimize right-of-way acquisition and impacts
- Optimize costs and benefits
The study included connecting roads, the interchange, and the nearest upstream and/or downstream interchanges or intersections in the analysis (no significant changes were considered at Preston Avenue, Taylor Street, Boychuk Drive and Vic Boulevard).
Central Avenue and Attridge Drive Study
Central Avenue and Attridge Drive are classified as major arterials and are expected to carry 10,000 to 30,000 vehicles per day. The most recent traffic counts on Attridge Drive showed an Average Daily Traffic (ADT) of 30,000 vehicles per day. Central Avenue had an ADT of 15,000 vehicles per day.
Regular monitoring and traffic studies have determined the intersection of Central Avenue and Attridge Drive experiences lengthy delays during daily peak hours. Those living in surrounding neighbourhoods use this intersection as access core areas of the city, such as downtown. As development in the area continues, traffic pressures are expected to increase.
The development of the North Commuter Parkway, will help alleviate some congestion in this area. However, a Functional Plan was developed to assess the operational needs of the intersection and includes a number of suggested improvements that will promote improved traffic flows. Highlights include:
- No interchange, intersection modifications only.
- Construction of a southbound right-turn bay from Central Avenue to Attridge Drive.
- Construction of a new westbound lane on Attridge Drive from Central Avenue to the Circle Drive North on-ramp.
- Eastbound and westbound left-turns from Attridge Drive onto Central Avenue will operate on signal arrow only (i.e. fully-protected).
- Construction of a second eastbound left-turn bay from Attridge Drive onto Central Avenue, as well as left-turn bay lengthening to provide more storage.
- Move the Circle Drive North off-ramp (to Attridge Drive eastbound) to increase the distance from the off-ramp to Central Avenue and address merging and weaving issues.
- Change traffic signal timing to reduce delays (pending shifted traffic patterns when the North Commuter Bridge opens).
Pending funding, most changes may be phased-in. Other changes, such as major modifications to signal operations to reduce delays, may need to wait for the North Commuter Bridge to open since they will be driven by the change in traffic patterns.
Preston Avenue Corridor
Considering future traffic demands along Preston Avenue between 14th Street and Circle Drive, a A comprehensive review has been conducted. During the consultation and review process, the City was able to identify current and future operations of the roadway, and needs and priorities. As a result of this review, the Transportation Division has developed a number of modifications and improvements to the Preston Avenue Corridor.
As part of the review process, all the intersections along the Preston Avenue corridor were reviewed and analyzed using current data, including traffic and pedestrian volumes as well as collision statistics and specific recommendations and countermeasures were identified.
Southwest Transportation Study
The Southwest Transportation Study (formerly 11th Street Corridor Study) was initiated to identify concerns and examine opportunities to improve safety and efficiency of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists in the southwest area of the City. The increase in traffic since Circle Drive South opened, the incessant traffic and safety concerns in the neighbourhoods support the need for a comprehensive study of the Southwest area of the City.
The Study includes a long term plan for the desirable connection between the west sector and the downtown (identified in the West Industrial Concept Plan, approved by City Council on May 20, 2008).