Johnson Street woes

The city is investigating the cost of hiring an independent traffic engineer to report on the Highway 97/Toop Road intersection options.

A citizen’s committee opposed to possible intersection changes that would see Johnson Street opened up to highway traffic got an early Christmas present this month.

Williams Lake City Council passed a motion at its regular meeting to direct staff to inquire about the costs of hiring an independent traffic engineer.

The vocal group made the request earlier in hopes of having yet another traffic report offer solutions on the best way to move forward with changes to Highway 97 and city access.

The stretch of highway from just north on Fox Mountain Road to Carson Drive is slated for major upgrades as part of Christy Clark’s vision to see all of Highway 97 twinned – from Cache Creek to Prince George, in the coming years.

Our $4 million upgrade was chosen in part due to the number of collisions, injuries and fatalities that have occurred at the current intersection of Carson Drive and Highway 97 over the years.

Professionals from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said they have reviewed their options several times over several years, and have ultimately given an option which would see the Carson intersection removed and replaced at Toop. Additional upgrades would be made to McKinnon Street and the ministry has also suggested the city would benefit from opening up Johnson Street to offer a straight route to the hospital, which is also earmarked for upgrades.

City staff said they have reviewed all the options and reports and have recommended city council follow the advice of the ministry and open up Johnson Street.

Surprisingly, Mayor Cook made her opinion public recently that she does not support the opening of Johnson Street. But that doesn’t mean the other councillors won’t support it.

The Johnson Street residents are very passionate about their cause, and aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves.

Council really had no choice but to explore the request, but at the end of the day the last thing this project needs is another report.

In the not-so-distance New Year, it’ll be time to make a decision.

Tribune/Weekend Advisor