Ministry changes direction on intersection design

Western Avenue will need to be closed at Highway 97 if proposed intersection changes go ahead at Carson Drive and Toop Road.

Western Avenue will need to be closed at Highway 97 if proposed intersection changes go ahead at Carson Drive and Toop Road, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said Thursday.

“The suggestion to eliminate vehicle movements at the Highway 97 and Western Drive intersection was an outcome of a road safety audit,” a ministry spokesperson said, explaining the design is still in the engineering phase.

Currently the Western Avenue and Highway 97 intersection allows no access for northbound traffic.

Southbound traffic can exit the highway at Western and traffic entering the highway there can only turn southbound.

Western Avenue is less than 150 metres south of Carson Drive and traffic movements there causes some mobility and safety concerns because vehicles leave and enter the highway close to the larger Carson intersection, the ministry said.

The ministry is also proposing the existing access to Jubilee Place be closed and a six-metre access be provided around the back.

“It’s problematic right now because it comes out right on Carson, almost onto the highway, so it does interfere with the movement of traffic,” the city’s general manager of operations Geoff Goodall said.

“We see the closure of Western at the highway as more than a tweak and are requesting the ministry do consultation with everyone affected,” he said.

There will be consultation the ministry confirmed.

Coun. Surinderpal Rathor said he has met with business owners nearby who told him they were in shock with the proposed closures.

“I never thought the ministry would come back and tell us they wanted to close Western Avenue,” Rathor said. “What else is coming through?”

Mayor Kerry Cook said in February the design for the highway upgrade was 50 per cent complete and council knew it would have to go through the ministry’s safety audit and detailed design.

“Now we’re at 90 per cent,” she said.

Council supported three parts of the design which include the removal of the northwest quadrant island on Carson to tighten the turning radius and slow down traffic as it exits the highway, to lengthen the remaining island on Carson Drive for better “channelization,” and to develop at-grade crossing at Carson Drive.

Rathor voted against, while Coun. Geoff Bourdon was absent.