Safety for children is a concern of all parents, and Vegreville resident Shirley Kercher is no different. Back in 2014 Shirley expressed in a letter to the Town of Vegreville that she was concerned about her children crossing Highway 16A at 51 Street to get to AL Horton School. In the letter, Shirley was requesting the Town of Vegreville make the crosswalk more visible.
This is where the process began for the Town of Vegreville. During the 2015 budget process the Public Works Department reviewed the options for this intersection. The option of a hard wired flashing indicator would have the cost of approximately $50,000 per side, so the department decided to look at a more affordable alternative. The solution was solar powered Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons, at the total cost of just under $10,000. Due to the fact that it was installed on an Alberta Transportation numbered highway, Vegreville was to be the trial location for these systems across Alberta.
In order to be approved by Alberta Transportation, the Town was required to perform a pedestrian count at this intersection. The count was performed in spring of 2016 when the foot traffic would be higher, as school was in. The pedestrian use at this intersection during a weekday count from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm revealed an average of 100 uses per day. The count was submitted to Alberta Transportation for review, and the proposed installation received approval.
The Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacon indicators were to be installed on a current ATCO Electric light standard on the South side of the intersection, and a completely new installation on the North side. So with ATCO Electric crews graciously assisting the Town of Vegreville, the indicator was installed on November 22, 2016.
Shortly after installation, Shirley was notified that the indicators were operational at the intersection. She expressed to the Town of Vegreville a huge thank you for completing this project and that she definitely feels a lot safer crossing this intersection. The Town continues to receive positive comments regarding the new indicators.
This story starts with the pen of a concerned mother and ended with the installation of a system that will make life safer for everyone. Hopefully for Alberta Transportation, this is a new solution for many more unmarked intersections across Alberta.