Fort Saskatchewan city council has approved plans to close a part of River Road to vehicle traffic.

This approval came at a city council meeting late last month. The portion that will be closed is between the entrance of the Fort Lions Campground and southwest of 119 Street. This two-kilometre stretch of road will be turned into a multi-use trail for cyclists and pedestrians. 

The plan to change River Road came in 2017 when heavy rain caused a portion of the riverbank to collapse. 

Council was told that the feedback on the project was positive, and emergency access was not raised as a concern.

"The existing road surface will be used as the trail to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. Signs, bollards, and gates will be installed at both ends to provide maintenance and emergency vehicle access. A fence along the steep edges of the riverbank will also be installed.”, explained Grant Schaffer, director of fleet, facilities, and engineering for the City of Fort Saskatchewan.

While vehicle traffic down River Road is low, traffic monitoring showed high speeds, with some drivers being caught going 70 kilometres over the speed limit. 

“The closure of this portion of River Road deals with two issues at once,” Schaffer stated. “It addresses the safety concerns related to speeding vehicles and vulnerable users, and it moves the vehicle loads away from the riverbank lessening the likelihood of future slumping.”

The project is expected to start this summer, with the costs estimated at $125,000.