Some heavy trucks are already making use of the Maley Drive extension, city councillors heard Monday, as Greater Sudbury enters the first week of driving on the new, $80.1 million road.
Not only have drivers quickly adjusted to the roundabout at the entrance of Collège Boréal, but heavy trucks are already making the move to the new roadway, which opened Friday.
“I can't understate how significant an achievement the event was last Friday,” Tony Cecutti, the city's infrastructure GM, told members of the operations committee.
“The original plan was to open the road before the end of December of this year and we opened the roadway on Nov. 29.
“If you've driven on it, you'll see the little spots of work we still have to do. I did want to mention there's some significant improvements to the intersection of Maley at Falconbridge (Road) that are planned for next summer that will help with traffic flow.
“And we're currently working on adjusting the signal timing because the demand for turning going off of Maley on to Falconbridge has increased significantly over the weekend. That in itself will tell you how many people are using the roadway.”
Cecutti said he saw three slurry trucks using the road when he drove by Friday. Diverting those trucks is one of the key reasons for the building the extension.
Heavy trucks can now bypass the city, easing traffic on the heavily used Lasalle Boulevard.
“(Seeing the trucks) is a wonderful sign – and I think that was within an hour of the announcing that the road was open,” he said. “So the trucking industry has self-determined that it's a more cost-effective way to get across the city.”
Drivers – and pedestrians – should notice less traffic on Lasalle, which is itself set to undergo a transformation in the coming years, made possible by Maley.
“It would already be noticeable for any pedestrians how much nicer quality of experience it is on the Lasalle Boulevard from what it used to be with all those heavy trucks,” Cecutti said.
Staff will be collecting data over the next six months to gauge the impact Maley is having, and to get an idea of how many vehicles have switched to using the new road.
“We are expecting to see a noticeable reduction in wear and tear on Lasalle Boulevard,” he said.
A grand opening is planned later in the year.
“So, obviously congratulations to the team that put this together,” Cecutti said. “We had very very few complaints. I know we had some noise and vibration issues, but considering the amount of rock they moved, they did a tremendous job keeping that to a minimum.”