Traffic, after turning the corner by LeBourdais Park and passing the Pioneer Cemetery, is now required to make a mandatory right turn onto Kinchant St. if they remain in the right-hand lane. This would seem to fly in the face of normal traffic patterns, which see right-lane traffic most frequently travelling to the far end of Carson Avenue, then turning right to continue on Highway 97 North.
According to the Ministry responsible for the safety and efficiency of Highway 97 through Quesnel, concerns were raised by the City of Quesnel in 2016 regarding congestion on Highway 97 near Kinchant St.
In the spring of 2017 the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure procured an engineering firm to review the site, which recommended dedicating the curb lane for right turn movements only, to improve traffic flow. This would further require traffic intending on going past Kinchant St. to move to the centre lane, then return to the curb lane once they were past Kinchant St. Not only is this cumbersome, but also very dangerous when large transport trucks are in the mix.
In June of this year, the Ministry met with the City of Quesnel to review the recommendations and the City was supportive. The Ministry then implemented the right-turn curb lane recommendations that included a painted right arrow, markings and signs. The right-turn only sign with a “Right Lane Must Turn Right” tab and “Traffic Pattern Changes” sign were installed, while the painted arrow and markings are scheduled for this fall.
The Ministry said it will monitor traffic flow now that these changes have been implemented, to confirm the desired outcomes are achieved.
For those of you who have witnessed traffic continuing in the curb lane to either turn at various streets beyond Kinchant or continue to the end of Carson Avenue, at which point they then turn right to continue on Highway 97, it might be advantageous to advise the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure that the plan doesn’t seem to be working.
Many have questioned the advisability of directing tourists and others unfamiliar with North Quesnel into an area with no further signage to bring them back to Highway 97 North or onto Reid St., or to any other destination in our fine city.
It would seem the current government would be happy to hear from those who use the roads in Quesnel about how the new traffic pattern is working – or how it’s not working.