The south end of the city is becoming the new development hotspot with a Gateway Casino, Burger King, and new community centre complex in the works.
Now, city council is looking to make improvements at the Pinewood Park Dr., Lakeshore Dr., and Lamorie St. intersection that will see much of the increased traffic.
An Environmental Assessment and Traffic Impact Study is underway and should be completed this fall and winter.
Construction will start in 2021 with the aim of meeting the short, medium and long term impacts from current and future developments on Pinewood Park Drive and other developments that will impact the intersection and the interchange.
Councillor Chris Mayne says it's the first step in a multi-year commitment to maintaining infrastructure in that part of the city.
A staff report says following the construction of a new sanitary sewer on Pinewood Park Drive, intersection improvements were identified in the 2017 Capital Budget in anticipation of future development along the Pinewood Park Drive corridor.
"Recent traffic studies have confirmed that the intersection is nearing capacity and improvements will be needed," says the report.
Various alternatives are being looked including a roundabout and a reconfigured signalized intersection that also involves improvements to the Highway 11 / Lakeshore Dr. Interchange ramps. A roundabout on Gormanville Road has proven successful in keeping traffic flowing.
The reports adds, "In meetings with the Ministry of Transportation it has been indicated that subject to funding and approvals, MTO would collaborate with the City on the implementation of the long term solution to optimize any potential improvements at the intersection including potential impacts on provincially regulated assets (highways and bridges) to minimize costs and optimize investments in the long term for both levels of government.
"The current development on Pinewood Park Drive, Gateway Casinos Inc. has agreed to participate through a contribution to the City towards improvements to the intersection which will be part of a cost-share agreement that is currently in the process of being completed."
The cost to improve the intersection short term is $1.6 Million.
"The short term fix may have limited benefit as it is anticipated that the intersection will reach capacity within a few years of its implementation. A preferred long term solution could be several times the magnitude of the short term fix," added the report.
Doing nothing is not an option it says.
"It has been identified that the intersection has reached its capacity and requires upgrading. Without infrastructure improvements, future developments in the vicinity of the intersection will not be able to proceed."