New traffic lights to help congestion at Credit Union Centre

Watch above: traffic jams caused by arena events have the city coming up with an alleviation plan

SASKATOON – Leaving Saskatoon’s Credit Union Centre (CUC) after a big event may become less hectic once new traffic lights are functional on two roads into the arena.

The city is currently installing two traffic lights at Thatcher Avenue and Bill Hunter Avenue on Marquis Drive.

These are the two main routes into the CUC.

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“Since the inception of this facility, traffic and parking has been a challenge,” said Will Lofdahl, CEO of CUC.

“The lights will help, significantly.”

Lofdahl said the centre has been in talks with the city over additional street lights in the area for the entirety of his three-year tenure as CEO.

“Some of the events are getting bigger and bigger,” said Angela Gardiner, Saskatoon’s director of transportation.

“People who attend those events know that there’s a lot of congestion out there, so we’re always looking at opportunities to improve the access to and from.”

Gardiner hopes the lights will be in use by September and will be programmed to make better use of the lanes that are coming in and out of CUC.

Lofdahl added that he hoped the lights would create a continuous stream of traffic onto Highway 16, as attendees left venues.

“The lights along with some other elements that are still in the works… should help,” he said.

Another element that Lofdahl wants to see added are traffic lights at the intersection of Marquis and Highway 16, which has been a danger zone. The two new lights leading up to the intersection could preclude improvements to the intersection.

“It’s all been kind of a package deal. We’ve been trying to get improvements to all three intersections,” said Gardiner, who is currently working with the province to make improvements on the intersection.

The area is in the jurisdiction of the Saskatchewan Department of Highways and Infrastructure, not the city.

Gardiner added that she hopes improvements will be made to the intersection at Highway 16 by the end of the year.