Morning traffic on 4th Avenue. Submitted file.

City asks for patience as 4th Avenue work continues

Workers are taking a lot of verbal abuse from drivers and that’s unacceptable, Mayor says

Access to and from Townsite has been challenging this year as the only road up to the area (4th Avenue) has been undergoing a major rehab.

Traffic is being controlled by stop lights, and there have been reports of people waiting for several lights to get through at the most congested times.

There have been questions as to why flaggers have not been used.

City CAO Scott Sommerville says that the use of flaggers require that the road be restored to two-lane traffic outside of construction hours, when the flaggers would not be onsite.

“Restoring the road to two-lanes at the end of every construction shift would add significant delays and costs to the project,” he said.

“Rebuilding the road and dust control every day would also add to the overall traffic delays.”

Asked if there had been any thought given to using flag people during the busy morning and evening commuting hours, Sommerville said yes, it was considered.

“WorkSafe Regulations (18.6.1(a)) state: A traffic control person may be used only (a) if the use of signs and other traffic control devices and procedures alone cannot provide effective traffic control. We are following the Traffic Control Manual.”

Mayor Don McCormick says that staff knew when the project began that it was going to be difficult, primarily because 4th Avenue is the only route in and out of Townsite.

“There’s only one road in and out and the Townsite population has grown substantially. The road is narrow and it is long and it is the only road. The goal was to put measures in place to provide the least disruption possible.”

He added that no matter what sort of traffic control system the City went with, there is still going to be congestion during the project.

McCormick says there are two things he really has to take issue with, the first being the notion that the project was not planned carefully.

“One of the discouraging things is the view that some people have that staff didn’t plan this project. Staff put a lot of time and effort into it, and we are right on time and right on budget.”

“According to my Operations managers, the project is progressing on time,” Sommerville said. “The lower section of 4th Ave utilities are complete, and the crews have moved up to work on the utilities between Trail and Creston Street. Work on this section of utilities is expected to continue up to September 3rd, 2019. Road construction and paving is planned to start in mid to late July and will continue into the end of September.”

Another thing the mayor is not pleased with is the amount of abuse city workers are taking from motorists.

“It’s absurd that staff working on the project are absorbing abuse and it’s from more than a few people. They are trying to get the job done. There is no reason for people to be swearing at them or giving them the finger. I get that people are frustrated, but to take it out on staff is not acceptable.

“We are requesting that people please be patient, knowing that this will be an inconvenience for the balance of the summer. Staff is doing the best that they can.”

Next year the top half of the project will be done, but McCormick says that will be easier as there will be possibilities for motorists to get around the construction by taking another parallel road.

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