Ladysmith’s Fourth Ave to remain single lane through winter

A single lane of alternating traffic will remain open to traffic at the Rocky Creek crossing over the winter months and a temporary road has been closed unless emergency access is required.

All of this after local residents complained to the town to restrict traffic between McKinley and Churchill Place because they felt motorists weren’t respecting the rules of the road.

Others lined up on the other side of the issue arguing there needed to be better access in and out of the neighbourhood.

Mayor Aaron Stone said the work that’s been done so far is only temporary and that a much large overhaul needs to be completed for the culvert replacement.

“There’s no excuses for it but there are logical explanations for it and everyone’s just doing the best we can,” said Stone at the last meeting of city council earlier in October.

“I know that as we move forward we’ll have every opportunity to mitigate the impacts as much as possible.”

The Town sent the 4th Avenue/Rocky Creek culvert replacement project out for tender earlier this year but bids came back above the construction budget of $1,008,000.

Council agreed with staff’s recommendation to remove two sections of the existing culvert that were badly damaged and harden the existing crossing in preparation for the winter.

The work required the complete closure of 4th Avenue in that area and while at the same time providing an access route connecting Churchill and McKinley through a piece of land acquired by the town.

Construction on 4th Avenue wrapped up Friday Oct. 12 and barriers were installed to restrict traffic from accessing the temporary road that received some opposition from the community.

One of those was Garnet Schaal who spoke on behalf of a petition presented to the town requesting the road stay closed.

“I understand the frustration we’re all experiencing. It hasn’t been a fun time for any of us and we do sympathize with you. Unfortunately we didn’t have any idea the impact it was going to have on us,” she said.

“The neighbourhood is not opposed to the road being open for emergency purposes in the case of extreme ice conditions or if the road on 4th Avenue collapsed. We also understand there will be a much longer duration, longer than what was just experienced, when the final repairs are done.”

Resident Cindy Damphousse submitted another petition in support of maintaining and alternate route that isn’t an logging road and asked why two lanes couldn’t be left open through the Rocky Creek dip during the winter.

“To assume that people in the winter are going to be able to stop safely to allow alternating traffic is a very unsafe situation,” she said.

Town engineering staff determined that it wouldn’t be safe to keep both lanes open.

Stone also added that no decision has been made by the town as to whether the emergency access will become a permanent road.

“That would be road standards that would be required,” Stone said. “The traffic flow that was through there was obviously extreme. If there’s a permanent connection there, the designation would be a neighbourhood road standard, which would be done for neighbourhood traffic not thru traffic, and it would be done in conjunction with the proper repairs to 4th Avenue.”

The Town is also prepared to open the McKinley Road extension again in the future in case emergency access is needed.

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