Officials at Concordia Hospital are thrilled about a proposed expansion of Molson Street.
Hospital president and chief executive operator Henry Tessmann said the proposed $7.4-million project to twin Molson from Munroe Avenue to just north of Concordia Avenue will help the hospital better serve the community. The expansion of the Concordia-Molson intersection will be particularly beneficial, Tessmann said.
"Our paramedics and emergency responders do a great job of getting to the scene and getting to the hospital. This will make it easier for them," he said.
"You can just imagine them having to weave their way through a traffic jam at an intersection trying to get to the hospital and how frustrating it would be for them to do it.
"Now there are going to be legitimate turning lanes and I think that will just make it easier for everyone, especially the paramedics, to get through there."
Coun. Thomas Steen (Elmwood-East Kildonan) said the project will be announced in the capital budget in January, noting "since the mayor made the announcement, it’s a done deal."
Although Steen said he can’s say exactly how far north the project will extend at this time, he hopes it will go to at least Kimberly Avenue.
Steen said construction will start next year and must be completed before the first snowfall of 2013. While it’s too soon to say how traffic in the area will be affected during construction, he expects it will be temporarily rerouted around the construction area.
Steen hopes to eventually twin Molson even further north, as traffic volumes are increasing with new development in the area.
"We want to do the whole strip all the way down to McLeod (Avenue) and probably further, too," he said.
Steen said getting Molson twinned was a big concern among constituents when he campaigned during the last civic election, adding he took up the nearly-20-year fight to get it done when he took office.
Tessmann, who also lives in the neighbourhood, said he thinks twinning Molson will make the immediate area safer for motorists and pedestrians.
"The community has made it, unofficially, a four-lane road using the shoulder for turning," Tessmann said. "We have had accidents at the corner of Concordia and Molson as cars are waiting to make their turns, and others are trying to get past and being impatient.
"I think there will be improvement on safety in that regard, as well."