A proposal to extend Brian Coburn Boulevard to Renaud Road and thus provide a bypass for the Bradley Estates sub-division may be one step closer to becoming a reality.
According to a recent memo from City of Ottawa transportation planning staff to city council, efforts to get the necessary approvals to extend Brian Coburn Boulevard are being made; however, they are being made at a snail’s pace.
The argument to extend Brian Coburn Blvd. to Renaud Road began shortly after it was extended from Mer Bleue Road to Navan Road and dates back to 2012 when a sinkhole on the eastbound Hwy. 174 near Jeanne d’Arc Blvd. forced the highway’s closure for nearly a month. As a result, east end commuters had to find alternative routes to get points west of Orléans. One of those alternative routes was Renaud Road to Anderson Road and then either downtown using Innes Road or the south end using Walkley Road.
After the sinkhole was repaired, a number of motorists continued to use Renaud Road, significantly increasing traffic through Eastboro and Bradley Estates.
Pressure from the Bradley Estates Community Association led to plans to alleviate the traffic situation not only along Renaud Road, but Innes Road as well.
Several options were considered, before the City settled on what is referred to as Option 7, which would see Brian Coburn Boulevard extended to Renaud Road, which would then be widened to four lanes. A two-lane transitwayfor buses and a future light rail line would be built beside it.
The City’s plan also called for the further widening of the Blackburn Bypass to six lanes from four lanes, with the two extra lanes to be designated as High Occupancy Vehicle, or HOV lanes.
The problem is that both plans need the approval of the NCC and the NCC’s board of directors in particular, because they involve the use of NCC land.
According to the memo, the NCC’s board of directors is opposed to Option 7 for reasons that were not outlined in the document, and prefers a second option instead. Option 1 eliminates the need for the Brian Coburn extension and instead would widen the Blackburn Bypass and build the rapid bus transitway beside it. Unfortunately, that would mean Renaud Road would remain unchanged.
During discussions between city staff and NCC staff, an alternative has been suggested which would see Brian Coburn Boulevard extended to a two-lane Renaud Road.
At the same time, Renaud Road would be decommissioned between the Prescott Russell Trail and the extension, eliminating the two 90 degree turns and returning that section of Renaud Road to its natural state.
Although this interim alternative plan still needs the approval of the NCC’s board of directors, city staff are proceeding with the final stage of the Environmental Assessment which will include a 30-day public consultation period.
The other issue is the cost. According to the memo, widening the Blackburn Bypass would cost $27 million and the Brian Coburn Extension/Renaud Road Realignment would cost $50 million. There is currently no fund-ing source for either project.
By comparison, the estimated cost of Option 7 is $400 million, while the estimated cost of Option 1 is $610 million.
At some point in time, the City will have to make a presentation to the NCC’s board of directors on whatever course of action city council agrees to. The board of directors will then vote yea or nay on the City’s proposal When the presentation and vote will take place is still anybody’s guess, but it’s likely to take at least another year.