New dedicated “left-turn only” lane on Hwy 12 in Lacombe gets “new” signage

The City of Lacombe recently changed the traffic pattern on Highway 12/50 Avenue and 58 Street.

A new traffic pattern that didn’t initially have the full signage up, caused a bit of a disruption to commuters last week.

On Aug. 18 The City of Lacombe changed the traffic pattern on a major intersection in the city. There is now a left-turn only lane along Highway 12/50 Avenue and 58 Street.

The City had the line-markings and outlines of the new left-turn arrows to indicate the change painted on Tuesday. The signage was not put up nor was the traffic light reprogrammed until Friday.

“Typically, I would have preferred to see it rolled out in one day,” said Amber Mitchell, the manager of engineering services. “But, just with multiple subcontractors the coordination issue just required it to be done over two separate days.”

The City of Lacombe Facebook page had many complaints about the lack of signage at the intersection.

Elaine Lysons, the co-owner of Lacombe Auto Service Centre and one of the Facebook commenters, said she’s seen some confusion at the intersection. “I observed many using the turning lane to proceed forward and, in some cases, zoom ahead of us.”

In response to the complaints, the City relocated signage on the south side of the road for better driver visibility.

“Over the weekend city crews installed “new” signs underneath the signs that dictate traffic movements, just to bring more awareness to the fact that the intersection had changed,” said Mitchell. “On Monday the contractor went and installed some overhead signage to the traffic poles themselves.”

Mitchell said the signage that is up is the signage required by the Transportation Association of Canada and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices of Canada (MUTCDC) guidelines.

Despite the confusion with the change in traffic patterns and drivers oblivion to the change, Lysons said this was a change that was needed.

“The change makes sense as a lot of cars want to turn there. Give it a few months and most will understand how to proceed through,” Lysons said.

The City said the change was required to help clear congestion from the intersection more efficiently.

Mitchell said it isn’t newcomers to Lacombe that aren’t seeing the signage, it is people that have driven the route often.

“It’s the people who have driven the same route for every day for 30 years that have a kind of an autopilot in their mind that will have those issues. So drivers should exercise additional caution at this intersection over the coming weeks as it takes time to change driver behaviour.”

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