Is This the Most Dangerous Intersection in Edmonton?

City councillor Andrew Knack is working with developers to find solutions to some real safety hazards in the west end
Highway 16A, heading west to towards the city's border

A city councillor is working with developers to upgrade an intersection that is causing major headaches on the west edge of Edmonton.

Andrew Knack spoke to council last week about the dangers of Highway 16A, or Stony Plain Road, where it crosses 231st Street in the middle of the Secord and Westview Village communities.

“The community has grown so much… that essentially cars are now queuing up on the shoulder of the highway, which is obviously incredibly unsafe,” Knack said.

“You’ve got folks queuing up on a 100 km/h highway, turning across another 100 km/h lanes coming into the city.”

Knack says he talked to developers in the area after the council meeting and they are “ready and willing” to do more work on 215th Street, also known as Winterburn Road, that could improve traffic flow and mitigate the safety concerns at 231st Street.

With new and growing subdivisions in the surrounding communities, the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association’s Charpentier soccer complex, major shopping centres to the east of Anthony Henday Drive and River Cree Resort and Casino to the south, Knack doesn’t anticipate traffic easing up anytime soon without major roadwork. He made a motion earlier this year asking for a report from city administration with options to make the intersection safer, but that won’t come back until October, and he says that’s not soon enough.

Community social media pages are filled with complaints about the intersection and general traffic congestion in the area. The cars also line up when the soccer complex comes to life on weekday evenings and weekends.

“It’s almost a daily occurrence right now, folks expressing concern or frustration about the lack of roadway access into the community,” Knack says.

Highway 16A also cuts through Parkland County’s most populated areas to the west of Edmonton, including Stony Plain, Spruce Grove and Acheson.

A few years back, community traffic concerns focused on Winterburn Road’s intersection with Highway 16A. The city expanded the offramp from that road in 2021, which Knack says helped with safety but not necessarily with congestion.

Winterburn was built under the city’s old rules in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which only required developers to build a two-lane arterial road, whereas today they are required to do four lanes. Knack is trying to work with developers to “swap” their financial obligation for a four-lane road elsewhere, and instead expand Winterburn Road.

Knack says the developer, MLC Group, has agreed, but the move would have to be approved by city administration. He says MLC Group is also talking with Melcor, the area’s other main developer, to put together design work for upgrades that could improve traffic flow on Winterburn Road.

“Right now if you go there at a p.m. rush hour, it can be upwards of 20 to 30 minutes to drive what, at any other time of day, would probably take two minutes,” Knack says.

“Part of the reason people are taking 231st is for that extremely long queueing on 215th. If you can fix the 215th thing, you probably create a scenario where people can shift back from 231st to 215th, and then that buys us some time to work on the bigger solutions on 231st.”

An MLC Group spokesperson said in an email it is too early to comment on the potential changes.

The October report coming to council will present plans for Highway 16A as well as other dangerous and congested intersections across the city.

Meanwhile, Knack is crossing his fingers that work can be done before the snow falls. “If the stars align,” he says, there is an off-chance that it could happen, adding this is the first encouraging news he’s heard on the issue in some time.

“It would be a dream come true and a huge relief to residents to have this year,” he says. “But at a minimum, it really feels like we’re suddenly making very quick progress, which is quite encouraging.”