By Greg Price
Forward progress continues to be made in the creation of a truck rest area along Highway 36, near Vauxhall. Municipal District of Taber staff and Alberta Transportation have met, discussing a potential partnership for the project.
“We had a very productive meeting I thought. They are very receptive to getting into working on a rest area just outside of Vauxhall on that 9.14 acre parcel,” said Jack Dunsmore, director of planning and infrastructure for the M.D. of Taber, at council’s Aug. 8 meeting.
The M.D. of Taber has proposed keeping two two-acre lots for development and ownership of the remaining five acres would remain with the M.D. of Taber for the development and operation of a truck rest area by way of partnership with Alberta Transportation.
“One way or the other, we are still not sure about those two lots, whether they should be on the north side facing the highway, that is something you will decide,” said Dunsmore.
Requests are for a paved parking lot in the truck rest area along with bathrooms which will be maintained and serviced via agreement with the M.D. of Taber.
“The only way that will fly is if the M.D. maintains and operates the facility. We also talked about getting a second approach, thinking the big one that is there now, cutting that down because you still need an approach going into the fertilizer plant,” said Dunsmore.
The southern fertilizer plant entrance position would be kept in place, but made smaller. The northern access would need to be located directly across from 1st Avenue South to tie into the road on the north side of Agristar (Pak-Wel).
“Part and parcel to that discussion was the service road that is right now on the west side of those lots. They (Alberta Transportation) would sooner see that service road moved to the east side so that maybe you could drive into the parking lot and go around rather than out the other approach,” said Dunsmore. “One of the other conditions they also have is we hire an engineering consultant to do a study, and part of that would be traffic. Is there a need for an intersection improvement there? The engineering firm would have to come up with a recommendation. Any government body wants to see a consulting firm do a conceptual design. There would be some engineering involved.”
There are possibilities a turning lane assignment may be required or changing of speed zones down to 60 km/hr or moving the current 80km/hr signage further to the south.
According to original speculation, the service road allocation directly east of Highway 36 may not be required and could be used for highway intersection improvements if required or be consolidated back into the lot design. The rest area could be graded to allow storm water runoff to collect to the east in M.D. owned land in SW 11-13-16-W4.
“We’ve talked about this forever. It’s time we got an RFP (request for proposal) for a consultant,” said Bob Wallace, councillor for the M.D. of Taber. “We’ve been talking about this for years, it’s the receptive part (Alberta Transportation) that has changed.”
The motion for an RFP for a consultant for the project was passed unanimously.