Grande Prairie drivers will need to get used to using a roundabout. The new one at Highway 43X and Range Road 63/116 Street is slated to open to traffic by noon Friday.
Alberta Transportation started construction at the intersection in the middle of June and it was originally expected the work between Highway 2/Highway 43 and Range Road 63 would be done by mid-August. However, the province has said it was delayed by weather conditions this summer.
To use a roundabout, the province says drivers should slow down as they approach, yield to traffic in the circle, and make sure they know what lane they should use and where they will exit. They should keep their speed between 40 to 50 kilometres an hour, not change lanes within the roundabout, and signal right before leaving.
The government maintains having a roundabout on the new bypass will improve traffic flow and avoid backups.
“Drivers using a roundabout are not forced to stop, which means fewer delays, less congestion, lower noise levels, decreases in fuel consumption and emissions,” it says in a release. “Roundabouts are also less expensive to maintain than signalized intersections.”
Work continues at Highway 43 and Highway 43X. Traffic will stay down to one lane in each direction until further notice.
At this point, it’s expected the rest of the new bypass will be done by next summer. This part of the project from 116 Street to Richmond Hill got underway in the spring of 2017 with a budget of $48 million and a two year timeline. The section from the intersection of Highway 43 and Highway 2 west to 116th Street was finished several years ago.