After a plan to extend Hope Side Road to Highway 416 was rejected by the National Capital Commission, the city will look at other options to reduce traffic congestion in south Kanata.
An environmental assessment for a transportation plan in south Kanata is already underway as a consultant has been hired.
The study will consider widening Richmond Road, Fallowfield Road and other major routes out of the area.
Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley said the study is looking at how many vehicles travel to and from Kanata, what time of day the cars are on the road, and what routes they travel.
“We’ll study that and (the EA has) got a deadline to it of December 2013. They not only have to complete the studies but come back with a functional design,” said the councillor, adding the major routes out of south Kanata include Eagleson Road, Terry Fox Drive and Richmond Road.
With the Hope Side Road extension tabled due to environmental impact, Hubley said he believes the Richmond Road corridor would be the most logical choice for an upgrade.
“I anticipate what will come out of this will be the need to make improvements to the Richmond Road corridor,” he said.
A joint study by the city and the NCC determined the Hope Side Road extension was one of several projects that would have a detrimental impact on the ecology of the Greenbelt.
“Hope Side Road can come off the books now. I’ve already spoken at committee; I think we should delete that from the plans,” said Hubley. “If we extended the Hope Side Road piece through, there would be a significant impact on the greenspace there.”
The city has partnered with the NCC to complete the assessment, and Enbridge has agreed to delay putting in a new pipeline along West Hunt Club and Richmond roads, which was to begin in 2013, so the study can be completed, said Hubley.
As well, the EA will use studies already completed by Enbridge to help speed up the process. Enbridge has studies on endangered species in the area as well as how much rock and clay is in the ground, said Hubley.
“For that Richmond corridor, we can use a lot of what was done in the Enbridge study,” said the councillor.
The EA will also look at whether three lanes could work – two lanes moving east during morning rush hour that would switch to two lanes moving west in the afternoon – or if four full lanes are needed for whichever road is chosen for expansion.
The 2013 budget allocated $400,000 to complete the studies and design work, and $15-million is on the books for 2015 to complete whatever the EA recommends, said Hubley.
The councillor said he will be hosting open houses in the new year so the public can contribute to the process.
With 15,000 news homes slated for a new Fernbank development, the councillor said it’s important to have the road infrastructure in place.
“We need to have the infrastructure in place before all those people move into those houses,” he said.
- With files from Laura Mueller