A graphic of the original design for the walking trail extension on 50 Street. (Town of Ponoka)

A graphic of the original design for the walking trail extension on 50 Street. (Town of Ponoka)

Town of Ponoka making adjustments to 50 Street walking trail to widen roadway

Modifications will cost an estimated $40k

After receiving numerous complaints from the public about the walking trail extension on 50 Street since it was installed about a year ago, the Town of Ponoka is making some changes — to the cost of $40,000.

With the heavy snowfall last winter, council received feedback that with the addition of the walking path and large tree boxes, the road was too narrow for vehicles making for a potentially accident-prone intersection. In March, 2022, council passed a motion to take another look at the walking path’s design.

The tree boxes will now be removed and the smaller flower boxes will be spaced out along the trail segment. The curb will be re-aligned to add about 1.5 metres to the roadway and additional curbing will be added to to meet provincial traffic safety standards. After that, new traffic lines will be painted.

The tree boxes will be relocated to storage until they can be repurposed.

Council approved the adjustment plan during their regular meeting on Sept. 13.

“Essentially, what I see, is compromise,” said Mayor Kevin Ferguson of the modifications.

The town received $355,000 in Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding from the provincial government for trail system upgrades, which was used for the original project.

The trail extension now connects the Battle River Valley and downtown-area trail system to the Arena Complex via 50 Street and Highway 53.

According to the town, equipment rental, labour costs and purchasing the additional curbing to meet provincial traffic safety requirements, the line painting and facilitating a temporary road closure while the work is completed, will come to an estimated $40,000.

The modifications are being paid for from the town’s general benefit reserve, leaving about $410,000 in the reserve.

A combination of town and contract workers will be used to complete the work with an expected completion date of Oct. 15.

The town developed the original design for the walking trail extension in consultation with Alberta Transportation and it was approved by town council during 2021 budget deliberations.

“The adjustments to the walking trail design will widen the roadway along that area of 50 Street. At the same time, the walking trail will remain as an extension of our community’s existing walking trail system,” said Sandra Lund, chief administrative officer, in a press release.

“Expanding our current walking trail system helps make Ponoka a more walkable community which adds to the quality of life that our citizens enjoy,” said Lund.

READ MORE: Ponoka town council discusses snow removal, 50 St. hill intersection

Town of Ponoka