County of Stettler hires engineer for Buffalo Lake traffic study

Written by Stu Salkeld

Have you driven around the south shore of Buffalo Lake recently and been unhappy with the traffic situation? You may have some good news coming soon.

The County of Stettler has hired an engineering firm to begin work on a traffic study for the busy and popular south shore area of Buffalo Lake.

The company’s response to a tender was pondered by councillors at their regular meeting April 12.

Councillors read the results of a tender looking for an engineering firm to manage the south shore traffic study, which Director of Planning & Development Craig Teal noted collected four responses.

“The purpose of the south shore traffic study is to identify the long-term intersection and road network improvements needed to accommodate traffic and manage traffic-related impacts as the Buffalo Lake South Shore growth node is further developed,” stated Teal in his memo to council.

“A request for proposals to undertake the project was sent to four transportation engineering firms,” Teal stated during his presentation to council the County of Stettler sent four invitations to companies they felt could handle a project of this type, and received offers from each company.

He noted in his report the four engineering firms and their bids included Castleglenn Consultants Inc. (estimated cost of $95,790 excluding GST), ISL Engineering and Land Services Ltd. (estimated cost of $43,354 excluding GST), Stantec Consulting Ltd. (estimated cost of $38,395 excluding GST) and WSP Canada Inc. (estimated cost of $39,154 excluding GST).

Teal stated that the County of Stettler and its municipal partners in the Buffalo Lake area have agreements in place to accommodate growth and traffic improvements are needed as part of this growth.

“The County of Stettler, the Summer Village of Rochon Sands and the Summer Village of White Sands are partners in the Buffalo Lake Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP),” the report stated. “This IDP identifies a growth node along the south shore of Buffalo Lake made up of lands in the county and lands in the two summer villages.

“The purpose of this project is to identify the long-term intersection and road network improvements needed to accommodate traffic and manage traffic-related impacts as the growth node is further developed.”

Teal noted the project has four goals, including identifying the best routes to upgrade to disperse traffic, avoiding excessive traffic load on Bayview Street, and providing the best value for capital cost involved based on full build-out of the entire growth node (county lands and lands in the two summer villages), identifying the improvements needed to municipally controlled intersections and provincially controlled intersections based on the results of objective one above, identifying interim measures to manage and direct traffic until such time as the long-term road network has been constructed (i.e. seasonal access gate along Bayview Street east of the marina or similar measures); and lastly providing cost estimates of options and improvements to allow consideration in decision making and setting of funding and cost recovery mechanisms.

Teal also explained during his presentation two of the offers, Stantec and WSP, were only a few hundred dollars apart, which is extremely close so further criteria were used to eventually have staff recommend the Stantec offer. He noted one of the criteria was the ability to meet the project schedule.

Teal informed councillors the county and its partners received a grant to cover the costs of this study.

Coun. James Nibourg asked what funds the county had budgeted for this project to which Teal responded the county doesn’t need to budget because the grant appears to be large enough to cover the entire cost.

Coun. Nibourg asked if the two summer villages were paying parts of the cost of the study. Teal responded that won’t be necessary as the grant should cover the entire cost of the study.

However, Teal noted that a plan was in place in the event the County of Stettler’s grant application was declined. In that situation, a formula would have been used and the summer villages would have paid a portion each.

Councillors unanimously approved offering the Buffalo Lake south shore traffic study project to Stantec Engineering for their offer of $38,395 plus tax.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.