The city held an open house to solicit public input on proposed changes to intersections that impact Highway 97, Toop Road, Carson Drive and 11th Avenue. The Ministry of Transportation offered a public input meeting in June to hear ideas and concerns, and that process was continued from the city’s perspective, at a public information meeting, Wednesday, Aug. 28 in the city council chambers.
Based on public input from the June meeting, several changes have been made in the proposed traffic options, according to Ministry of Transport project manager Lisa Miller. She said that keeping Toop Road and Johnson “opened up” was very important to residents and that people felt that the “pet underpass” was too far up the highway. Miller added that Cariboo Custom Monogram will be “bought out”, but that Panago Pizza will not.
This is the second part of phase two of the Ministry of Transport project. “In June we received a lot of positive feedback about the overall project from the public in Williams Lake; the main point here is hearing back from the city about what their residents feel will work best,” Miller explained.
“The next phase is getting into negotiations and more detailed design with the city based on this input.”
City planning and operations director Geoff Goodall said that they have been working on this for about seven years. “There have been two fatalities that I know of in the area of Toop and 11th and several subsequent studies were commissioned that led to the need for a different configuration,” he explained.
“This is the functional design stage of this project, and after this public information session input tonight we will tell council what we’ve heard and the changes they agree on will be sent to the Ministry of Transport.”
He added that this particular area is critical because it’s the main north south road through the province and there is a significant amount of traffic.
“The Ministry’s always looking at ways to improve traffic flow; there are some connection points that aren’t safe right now — the configuration makes them sub-standard — and the idea is to try to keep the flow of traffic but also keep it safe when it comes to the connections to our city.”
“When all is said and done I want everyone to be excited about these changes and how they will benefit the community,” Miller said. “Moving the intersection will be such a great improvement; I am excited to deliver the project and want to make sure the community is behind it.”
For more information on the project, visit www.caribooconnector.com