Fort St. John city councillors have approved two intersection upgrades downtown that will be key to the rebuilding of 100 Street.
On Monday, council approved $500,000 in spending to add traffic signals at 98 Street and 100 Avenue, and to upgrade the signals at 102 Street and 100 Avenue. Upgrading both are needed ahead of 100 Street upgrades, planned to start in 2020.
“Regardless of what we do, we need these signals to handle the traffic diversion around the downtown core,” engineering manager Jim Stewart said.
The city plans to start rebuilding 100 Street in 2020 to replace aging underground infrastructure. The work will run between 96 and 105 avenues, and take up to five years to complete.
The upgrade at 98 Street and 100 Avenue is long overdue. City staff note the dangers of the busy crossing, and ICBC statistics show there were 35 crashes between 2013 and 2017, with 10 of those causing injury or death.
The intersection is "underutilized intersection as it is hard to go straight across or turn left," Victor Shopland, general manager of integrated services, wrote in a report to council.
Meanwhile, the city will reconfigure the signals at 102 Street and 100 Avenue to add a left turn to alleviate existing and future traffic backups to 99 and 101 avenues.
"With more traffic being directed along 102 St this would only be exacerbated. The addition of left turn lanes will rectify this problem," Shopland wrote.
The city is paying for the upgrades through an extra one-time payment of $885,000 in gas tax revenues. The rest of that extra payment will go into reserves.
Including the extra payment, the city is receiving $1.3 million in gas tax revenues this year. The city has spent gas tax monies on trails, sidewalks, street lights, garbage and recycling carts, and the new dog park.
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