Correction: The printed edition said the only diverging diamond interchange in Canada is in Edmonton, which is actually the second city to build such and interchange. The first was in Calgary. To see what it looks like, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwvscTv4OE4.
The Region is planning to begin work this June on a diverging diamond interchange on Glendale Avenue, replacing the current highway overpass, and a roundabout at the intersection with York Road.
In order to get the project finished on time, the Region and the Ministry of Transportation have asked the Town for an exemption to its noise control bylaw, “in order to complete the project expeditiously and reduce the impact on the community.”
To meet this “aggressive timeline,” the Town report says, the Region and Province want an exemption to the prohibition of working from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., including Sundays, allowing the contractor to schedule multiple crews and making it easier to complete the project on time.
At Monday’s virtual committee-of-the-whole meeting, councillors asked for a deferral, until the next council meeting.
There are four hotels in that area, said Coun. Norm Arsenault, and “no doubt” there will be blasting and pile-driving, that could disturb residents as well as visitors staying in hotels when they should be sleeping. He asked town staff if they could get an idea from the Region or the MTO about what construction would take place at night.
Coun. Gary Burroughs agreed, adding that although the report says the noise exemption wouldn’t impact residents, “this is so open-ended it could mean pile-driving 24 hours a day.” He asked for time to find out what construction would occur at night, especially with White Oaks Resort and Spa almost right beside where the construction will be taking place.
Lord Mayor Betty Disero offered to add a recommendation to the report saying town staff would ask for more information before it comes before council for approval in two weeks, but instead councillors voted to defer the decision until that council meeting, when they should have the information they’re looking for.
The project also includes a new commuter carpool lot and travel information centre at the northwest side of the new interchange, some repaving of the Queen Elizabeth Way lanes, and an extension of the right turning lane of Glendale Avenue between Taylor Road and Niagara-
Once the diverging diamond, just east of the current overpass, is finished, the old bridge will be removed.
The construction will be divided into five stages, with completion planned in 2023.
Steve Hardaker, member of the Glendale Task Force, says there hasn’t been a meeting recently, but he informed residents through a closed neighbourhood Facebook page of the virtual discussion that took place Monday. He hasn’t heard any negative comments about the noise bylaw exemption, he says, although in the early days of discussion, there was some concern about the diverging diamond itself.
“There is always fear of the unknown,” says Hardaker.
The Glendale diverging diamond will the the first in Canada. The first was built in Calgary in 2017, the second in Edmonton in 2018.
He has looked at the design and feels it will be safer for pedestrians and cyclists. “I don’t think it’s safe as it is. I wouldn’t want to be cycling over it,” he says.