Police and paramedics speak to those involved in a vehicle crash that occurred in the intersection of Ross Street and the Trans-Canada Highway in July. (Observer file photo)

Changes to Trans-Canada Highway through downtown Salmon Arm approved

Work expected to be done in evenings to lessen traffic impacts, completed in summer

If the rubber hits the road as planned, changes to the Trans-Canada Highway downtown intended to improve safety will be completed this summer.

The biggest change to the highway corridor will be relocating the traffic signals at Ross Street to Fourth Street NE (by the downtown Tim Hortons).

Other changes include restricting access at Sixth Street (by McGuire Lake), Ross Street (by KFC) and McLeod Street NE (by the art gallery), and adding advanced left turns into and out of the downtown at Shuswap Street and Fourth Street NE.

A majority of council has given the okay to move forward with the improvements which were outlined in a 2013 highway corridor safety study. One stipulation from the city is that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure agrees to permit the installation of gateway signage and speed reader signs to the east and west of the downtown core.

City engineer Rob Niewenhuizen reported to council on Jan. 28 that the ministry has agreed verbally to allow those additions but they would be at the city’s expense.

Related: Downtown Salmon Arm traffic study revived

The city would also like the ministry to review the possibility of installing a red light camera at the intersection of Alexander Street and the highway one year after the improvements are complete.

Niewenhuizen reported that the ministry intends to complete the work this summer, with much of it being done in the evenings to limit the impact to the traffic flows along the TCH and into the downtown core.

Phase 1 of the improvements – Alexander Avenue to Sixth Street – is estimated at $250,000, with the city paying $88,000, ICBC $75,000 and MOTI picking up the remainder.

For Phase II, the estimated cost is $330,000, with the city’s share just $30,000.

Related: Salmon Arm council puts brakes on intersection changes

Niewenhuizen stated that while nothing is perfect, staff believe the changes will best address traffic movements from the “growth areas” of the city.

“City staff believe the addition of the advanced left turn movements to be the most beneficial of the improvements for both safety and traffic flow through the downtown core… Most importantly, the advanced lefts will help eliminate the pedestrian and cyclist incidents and near misses regularly reported at the intersection of Shuswap Street and the TCH and, together with restricting movements at non-signalized intersections, significantly improve safety throughout the corridor.”

He said with the current configuration, the lights are too close, which can create issues with visibility and stopping distance. The improvements will spread them out.

Related: City supports safety improvements for Trans-Canada Highway

Coun. Chad Eliason was alone in voting against the plan.

“I think we can do a better job of negotiating with the wonderful folks at the ministry,” he remarked, adding that access to the downtown core is essential.

“Ross Street access and the weird access by the Jade Buffet are important ones. Left and right to those are very important for people. I don’t agree with everything we’re giving up for the perceived ‘get’.”

Coun. Kevin Flynn said he thinks it could be argued the city is getting more, better and safer access to the downtown, noting that city staff and traffic engineers think it’s a significant improvement for the corridor.

Other council members agreed. Coun. Tim Lavery noted safety is the top priority and this plan is a significant improvement, while Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond said council has given it much consideration during this term and last.

“Accesses are changing, but I can’t fully say they’re being lost.”


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sicamous man given six months jail time for possession of child pornography

Forty-six-year-old will be on National Sex Offender Registry for 20 years

Two-month-old Kelowna boy diagnosed with rare heart disorder returns home from treatment

Arel spent two weeks at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver after suffering multiple cardiac arrests

Salmon Arm’s Laura Hall to represent Canada in speedskating championships

16-year old to be the only athlete from B.C. on eight-person team

Share love of music with Salmon Arm Valentine’s Day concert

Roots and Blues welcomes festival favourites Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and Sherman Doucette

Habitat for Humanity seniors housing project in Salmon Arm moving forward

Twenty two units to be provided on 10th Avenue NE

WATCH: Cougar caught on doorbell cam in Vernon

Glenn Gorham shares footage of late-night visit from wild cat

Missing Vernon man possibly sighted in Lower Mainland

Information leads family, friends to believe Jay Rosenberger near Lower Mainland Saturday

House fire quickly knocked down in South Kelowna

According to Kelowna Fire Department, the house sustained interior damage during the blaze

Prolific South Okanagan criminal will be freed for time served

Afshin Ighani pleads guilty to assault charges but will be set free for time served

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

Chase hockey players fundraise for spring league

Players selected for Jr. Blazers and Cowboys

Shuswap history in pictures: Cold in Canoe

Back of photo says, “Hebden’s farmhouse to the north right.”

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Museum digs up history for ’60s Vernon Winter Carnival

Get Groovin’ with the Grandkids or flashback to the ’60s with tunes, trivia and costumes

Most Read