Open House Set for Quesnel Transporation Plan
Quesnel, B.C. – There will be an open house in Quesnel on April 3rd to gather public input on possible improvements to the Highway 97 corridor.The City of Quesnel has been very vocal about its concerns with heavy transport trucks, some carrying dangerous goods, running through the heart of the community, but Mayor Bob Simpson says even if there is no bypass or dangerous goods route established, there are a number of other issues which have to be addressed.
The City has been working with the Ministry of Transportation for more than 18 months says Simpson, in an effort to develop a plan for safety improvements on the stretch of highway that runs through the City. Specifically, Quesnel intersections with the provincial highway, as the City cannot move forward with intersection improvements without the Ministry’s approval “We have been trying to engage them in that conversation” says Simpson.
Simpson says there are a couple of reports that have been done by the Ministry of Transportation, which he hopes will be made public at the open house “There’s a comprehensive analysis of the road traffic on Highway 97 , the most comprehensive that has ever been done. We believe that report should be made public so the general population will understand what the Ministry believes is the traffic flow going through our community. The other one is an economic report that basically says what the Ministry of Transportation thinks is going to be the future of traffic flow of Highway 97 through town.” He says those two reports are critical to the discussion about the future of the highway.
Simpson says the City is frustrated in that the Ministry of Transportation considers the City “Just another stakeholder” and adds “We would rather be a partner but we are treated as a stakeholder.” He says the Ministry’s removal of a right turn lane at Carson ( in front of the RCMP building) has had a negative impact on traffic flow “It allowed in town coming traffic to get off the highway, they (vehicles) are now backing up highway traffic all the way to our visitor’s centre so, almost half a kilometer. We are trying to get that turn lane restored. It becomes particularly important as we are making significant investments in our visitor centre parking lot and the parking lot at the new arena.”
He says there are also issues at the South Quesnel commercial zone where intersections with the highway have been the scene of numerous crashes. “We want to know from the Ministry of Transportation how we can work with them to make changes there.” He says while some of the technical discussions have resumed, “It is our hope, we will take those conversations and start looking at these discreet projects while the Ministry does the longer term planning on the Highway 97 route at large.”
The open house is set for Monday April 3rd from 4 to 8 pm at the Quesnel Senior’s Centre on Carson Avenue.