Comox Valley Echo
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Town staff had the assessment done due to concerns that the three-week work period might cause traffic congestion in Comox and in surrounding areas. The firm was asked to develop a traffic management plan to minimize potential buildup.
While construction of the lane between Glacier View Drive and Rodello can be done during the day and accommodate two-lane traffic, the same is not true for the 325-metre section of the project west of Glacier View.
For that section, the town faces three options.
The first is to allow for single-lane, alternating traffic for construction from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The second is to also allow for single-lane, alternating traffic, but during night construction (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.).
And the third option is to maintain a westbound lane for traffic heading out of Comox, but to divert eastbound traffic heading into the town on Comox Road via another route.
Public works manager Glenn Westendorp said the assessment rules out option one and three.
Option one would create 500-metre queues of traffic on both directions of Comox Road, as well as on Anderton Road, Rodello, Glacier View and entrances to St. Joseph’s Hospital.
And option three would swamp other traffic corridors like Ryan Road, Westendorp said, leaving night construction as the only viable option.
Westendorp said the town will be taking steps to notify the residents, particularly those living near to the construction, through general notices on the town’s web site, radio and newspaper ads, digital sign boards and hand-delivered notices.
Westendorp said staff regrets the impacts night construction will have on the residents, but he added, “the other alternatives will result in several weeks of lost business, driver frustration, compromised access and environmental impacts.”
Coun. Marcia Turner asked if anything could be done to accommodate residents, including scheduling noisier work earlier on in the evening.
“We can certainly ask that question,” Westendorp replied, but he added, “It’s construction work, there’s really no way around it.”
Westendorp noted that an average 14,000 vehicles use the route everyday. “There’s just no easy way,” he said.
“The last time we tried the [traffic] diversion, it was six hours [in] and we were literally getting calls from emergency services in Courtenay saying that we had chocked traffic up in downtown Courtenay.”
Mayor Paul Ives noted that council was still awaiting the outcome of the Towns for Tomorrow grant application made by the town back in December. If successful, the grant could pay for roughly a third of the total $900,000 construction cost, which is currently up for tender.
© Comox Valley Echo 2011