Williams Lake city council has yet to make a decision on intersection upgrades at Toop Road and Highway 97 in Williams Lake.

Williams Lake city council has yet to make a decision on intersection upgrades at Toop Road and Highway 97 in Williams Lake.

Intersection decision stalled

Tuesday evening council passed a motion directing staff to inquire about the costs of hiring an independent traffic engineer.

While it was expected that city council would make a decision on the controversial proposed Highway 97 intersection upgrades this week, council instead took a safer route due to public pressure.

Tuesday evening council passed a motion at its regular meeting directing staff to inquire about the costs of hiring an independent traffic engineer, as requested by a citizen’s committee the week before.

“You can’t have the same company designing the highway and designing in the city. It’s impossible to suggest that’s unbiased,” said committee spokesperson John  Moon after the motion was passed.

“There’s a judicial responsibility on the part of the council to ensure there’s independent advisement for them before they make a decision,” Moon said.

In response to the citizen request council directed staff to bring forward a report in early January 2014 outlining the costs associated with engaging the services of an independent traffic engineer.

If hired, the engineer would review all documents and proposed Options One and Two for city street configuration associated with the Carson Road to Fox Mountain Highway 97 four-laning project in regards to the effects they may have as they apply to traffic and pedestrian safety and the access and egress of city frontage streets.

Five councillors voted in favour of the motion while Mayor Kerry Cook and Danica Hughes were opposed.

Cook said the highway upgrade project to date has engaged six engineering firms and years of reports.

“I don’t support Option Two, but was prepared to support Option One,” Cook said. “We would want this report as soon as possible. I’m concerned about timelines.”

Option One uses McKinnon Road moving traffic in and off the Toop Road intersection, whereas Option Two would tie in Johnson street directly with the exit from the Toop intersection.