Although the 3-way stop at Loewen Boulevard and Hespeler Street is marked as temporary, we can expect there will be some debate whether or not to make it permanent. 

The two new stop signs were recently added on Loewen Boulevard to improve traffic flow at that area during the reconstruction of the Loewen and Brandt intersection. 

“We have looked into long-term solutions for this intersection,” says Aaron Rach, Steinbach’s Head Engineer. “In my opinion, it would be a good candidate for a roundabout. So, it is something we have been working towards. The other option would be signalization. But signalization opens a real can of worms for the city.” 

All traffic signals in Steinbach are owned and operated by the province because they’re located at intersections with highways 12 and 52. 

“So, this would be our first signalized intersection, which there's a lot of infrastructure that needs to be put in place. And it's a new process for the city. It's that initial one. It's going to be a balancing act knowing when we really need to get into that first signalized intersection on our own. Because it is coming. It's going to happen eventually, but it is a big investment in time and resources.” 

The city conducted a traffic study and counts last fall. 

“WSP, a consultant that does a lot of our traffic planning, did an analysis with the software they use called Synchro. What it does is it establishes a Level of Service criteria for each movement on an intersection, with Level of Service A being the least delays and Level of Service F being unacceptable, which I believe is greater than 50 seconds delay for a movement. 

“So, when they did their analysis, eastbound and westbound Loewen were found to be at an acceptable level of service. Loewen was operating at a Level of Service A and then the northbound Hespeler was operating at a Level of Service E, which is kind of close to the threshold where you would make that change.” 

Rach says given that there were higher volumes on Loewen and with Hespeler still operating at an acceptable level, the recommendation was made to not make any changes to the intersection, knowing that once the detour route was initiated for the Loewen intersection project and all that traffic volume started shifting, they would have to make a change because the increase in traffic would push the Level of Service E into an F at that point. 

When a change is made to an intersection by adding Stop signs, Rach says it’s difficult to go back and remove the signs because people have gotten used to them. 

The plan is for the Loewen intersection project to reach a point before winter where that intersection with Brandt Street can be reopened. When that happens, what is the plan for the temporary 3-way Stop at Loewen and Hespeler? 

“We’ll continue to evaluate how the intersection is performing through the summer and then make a decision on what to do going forward,” Rach says.