Old highway overpass to be incorporated into new subdivision design

The old highway 2 overpass, pictured, will be part of a new development south of Prince Albert being undertaken by Signature Development Corporation. Photo by Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald

A residential and commercial development just south of Prince Albert will incorporate a historical landmark into its design.

Signature Development Corporation owns the land on the east side of the Highway 2 and Highway 11 corridor just south of Prince Albert near Flaman’s. Work is underway for a multi-phase project set to include commercial and residential development.

The first phase involves building a service road that runs parallel to the highway. It will run from the north and connect with where the RM has land it is hoping to develop into a future shop.

“That will support commercial development adjacent to the highway corridor,” said Rusty Clunie of Signature Development Corporation.

“There will be commercial lots available between Flaman’s and where the RMs land is.”

The development has resulted in some trees and bush coming down, which has made the old Highway 2 overpass visible from the current highway route.

A video posted last week by a Youtube account called Ganarly Films, citing information from the Prince Albert Historical Society, says the overpass was built in the 1930s and used until the highway was straightened in the 1960s.

It passed over a portion of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad that once ran from Wakaw to Prince Albert. The railway was completed in 1915 and abandoned in 1983. Trains continued to run under the bridge even after the highway was straightened, up until the railway’s abandonment.

Soon, though, it will have a new life as a gateway into a residential development.

“You will go across the bridge to access our first phase of country residential acreage,” Clunie said.

“We’re working with design and structural consultants right now on what we need to do to rehabilitate the bridge. We plan on trying to restore it to the state it was at the time of its construction.”

In addition to incorporating the bridge into their design, Clunie said Signature Development is trying to use the natural landscape as much as possible as it plans its residential development, including bodies of water and the natural hills and dips of the land.

“We developed the road system to work very much with the existing environment we have out there to try to keep the new development very pristine and natural to its current environment,” Clunie said.

“When we first bought the property years ago, all of us had the vision that this neat structural amenity that we had, we felt we needed to integrate it into our future plans and visions for when we finally developed the land out there.”

The Highway 2 project isn’t the only major undertaking Signature Development is embarking on.

The company is also the owners and developers responsible for the large plot of land along Highway 3 behind the A&W in the city’s southeast.

That land, set to become an entertainment hub, includes several hectares purchased by the city for its new recreation centre.

“It’s moving along quite well, as far as the development itself,” Clunie said.

“Everything is on schedule and all the deliverables are coming together.”

Clunie said discussions are ongoing with other parties to buy more land from Signature in that area, which is “very positive” for the growth Signature plans for the plot of land.

He said people can expect to see hotels, restaurants and gas bars among the developments coming to that corner of the city.

He also said the permanent storm pond for the development has been completed. That’s been built where it was once assumed the city’s parcel would be located.

A geotechnical investigation returned poor results, Clunie said, so the city took a different portion of land. The land they took, he said, also improves their access to Marquis road for easier traffic flow in and out of the future recreation centre.

The centre is expected to be constructed in three phases. Phase one, which has been funded by the city, provincial and federal government, will include an aquatic centre and two ice pads. Phase two, which is currently unfunded, is set to consist of a 4,500-seat arena built to WHL specifications, and is estimated to cost $60 million. Phase three will consist of a library branch and community space.