March 26, 2013 - 12:36 PM
By Charlotte Helston
Cars jammed up bumper-to-bumper on 27th and 32nd Streets, accidents, curses thrown at the City of Vernon for poor transportation planning—this is exactly what a city engineer wants to avoid thirty years down the road.
Director of engineering and GIS Rob Dickinson presented information to city council on Monday for a transportation corridor aimed at taking traffic off Vernon's two busiest roads.
The 29th and 30th Street Transportation Upgrade and Utility Replacement is nothing new—a couple of phases have already been executed to improve road surfaces and underground utilities. But there's more work to be done, and Dickinson says it's essential to stay on top of the project.
"With a third corridor on 29th/30th Street, 10-15% of the traffic could be redirected to this new north/south spine and away from 27th and 32nd Streets," Dickinson says. "This equates to 13,000 vehicles per day."
Dickinson says projected population statistics suggest 27th and 32nd Streets will exceed capacity in the next 30 years. If nothing is done, he says the roads won't be a pretty picture.
"You would see an increase in traffic and an increase in accidents," Dickinson says.
The project would progress bit by bit along 29th/30th Streets over the next 13-15 years. Early work suggests the plan is working: a completed section between 43rd and 48th Ave. has translated into a fourfold increase in usage, up from 1,200 vehicles per day in 2005 to 4,800 in 2012. Dickinson says improvements on the road will only attract more drivers.
Slow and steady is the way to see the entire project to completion, Dickinson says. "With transportation you can't just bank the money and then spend it, you need to keep the pojects ongoing. We couldn't build it in 2-3 years, so we needed to show council a phasing plan."
Funding for work to be done in 2013 was approved during the city's budget meetings, but on Monday Dickinson reminded council the project isn't a one year undertaking—it's a multi-year construction plan.
Dickinson says collaborative work is being done between the city, the RCMP and ICBC to identify problem areas on the road.
"We do see in the not-so-distant future, 15-30 years, too many vehicles for the road, and you would definitely see more accidents. It's very important we stick to this phasing plan."
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at email@example.com or call (250)309-5230.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013