City staff recommend highway option

City staff are recommending council approve moving forward with Option One for Highway improvements in Williams Lake.

Williams Lake city staff are recommending council approve moving forward with Option One to relocate the intersection at Carson Drive and Highway 97 to Toop Road and 11th Avenue.

In a report council will receive at its committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, engineering technologist Jeff Bernardy said if council directs staff to proceed with the option, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will complete the 50 per cent detailed design by the end of February.

“MOT is also drafting a cost-sharing agreement for the various components of the project, with negotiations scheduled to begin mid-February,” Bernardy noted. “Also, upon council’s approval, MOT will initiate property acquisition.”

Bernardy said the new configuration essentially keeps traffic patterns the way they are today, but will improve safety at Toop, improve intersection highway grades, permit truck traffic access to commercial properties and have lower property impacts compared to other options.

“Even with the new light location, it is expected that traffic will use the same routes and patterns as today,” Bernardy said in the report.

The report analyzed a citizen committee design concept featuring an overpass, underpass, and roundabouts at Toop Road and did not recommend the concept for the location.

“In summary, the interchange concept as presented does have merit strictly from a highway mobility perspective, but presents severe disadvantages to city network access,” the report noted. “Given the existing terrain, constructing the interchange with the two roundabouts will have large impacts to the neighbouring properties and would require significant property acquisition.”

At its Jan. 14 regular meeting, council passed a motion directing staff to prepare a report on Option One.