Battle River Valley trail extension work underway

Trail extension will connect Ponoka’s River Valley trails, downtown area and Arena Complex

Screen shot of the town’s virtual video of what the new trail extension will look like. (Town of Ponoka/Facebook)

Screen shot of the town’s virtual video of what the new trail extension will look like. (Town of Ponoka/Facebook)

A new walking trail extension that will connect the south end of Ponoka’s downtown area to the Ponoka Arena Complex is currently underway.

Work started Sept. 27 on the first phase of the project, which will see construction of an asphalt walking trail that stretches along the south end of 50 St. and Highway 53 to the Ponoka Arena Complex at 54 St.

The new walking trail extension will begin at the pedestrian bridge to the Battle River Trail system located across from the Battle River Medical Clinic just north of 44 Ave.

The new multi-use trail will be three metres wide in accordance with recommendations in the Town’s Transportation Master Plan to ensure it is accessible to all citizens.

“Ongoing improvements to trails and recreation facilities in Ponoka are a council priority under the Town’s Strategic Plan because it increases the quality of life that our residents enjoy,” said Sandra Lund, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Ponoka in a release.

“Outdoor recreation continues to be especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide citizens with more opportunities to stay active by riding their bikes and walking or jogging along the walking trails throughout Ponoka.”

The new trail extension is based on recommendations in the Town’s Recreation Master Plan, the Downtown Action Plan and the Transportation Master Plan. These plans all recommend making Ponoka a more walkable community by adding new connections to the existing walking trail system in the downtown area.

The design of the new trail extension was developed in consultation with the town’s former Recreation, Parks and Culture Advisory Committee, Alberta Transportation and affected businesses on 50 St.

Construction of the new walking trail extension will include:

– Large planters and barriers to create a safe walkway for pedestrians along the east side of 50 St. from the pedestrian bridge to Highway 53. The planters will contain mature trees, flowers and greenery;

– Designated turning lanes for traffic on 50 St. at the intersection of Highway 53;

– The narrowing of a portion of 50 St. that stretches from the intersection of Highway 53 to the pedestrian bridge just north of 44 Ave.– a traffic calming measure intended to reduce traffic speeds and increase pedestrian and traffic safety along that stretch of roadway. This is in accordance with the Town’s Transportation Master Plan;

– Maintaining two full lanes of traffic and wide turning radiuses for truck and trailer traffic along this portion 50 Street; and

– Crosswalk and line painting that will ensure a safe flow of traffic and pedestrians along 50 Street.

The planters will feature an assortment of trees, flowers and greenery along the pedestrian walkway. As winter approaches, Lund adds that the new walking trail extension will be maintained throughout the season.

Access to Hamilton’s IGA trailer parking and the Rising Sun Clubhouse recycling depot on the east side of 50 St. will remain open during construction of the walking trail extension along 50 St.

Work is expected to begin on 50 St. this week, weather pending.

During construction, lane reductions will occur along the south end of 50 St. Motorists are reminded to please drive with caution in construction zones and observe road signs and traffic safety personnel.

Citizens are also asked to please stay on the pathways to maintain a safe distance from the construction zone and equipment.

Town of Ponoka