MOTI to implement changes to Highway 97 as study completes

Front Street three-laning is first on the list, to complete this fall

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) today (July 5) released a statement confirming that changes to Highway 97 will take place from now until at least fall 2018.

MOTI has now finalized its Quesnel Transportation Study, which aimed to analyze the traffic patterns and long-term transportation needs in Quesnel’s Highway 97 corridor. It was undertaken from 2016 until early this year.

“The comprehensive study analyzed the corridor from the Highway 97/Barkerville Highway Junction to Basalt Road in the Quesnel area. Within 14 kilometres, conditions along Highway 97 change significantly as a result of the challenging geography and adjacent land uses,” explains the press release.

The first of MOTI’s projects will begin in the next few weeks, with the lanes on Highway 97 at Front Street reconfigured to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety.

“This project will involve consolidating access to the highway and installing a traffic signal with full-access movement along this section of highway,” says MOTI’s release, which also says further community engagement will be sought as part of the design process.

The changes on Front Street will include a new three-lane configuration and should be finished by fall 2018, the press release indicates.

In an interview with the Observer in April, Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson said he believed the Ministry was hoping to dovetail its work on Front Street to coincide with the current construction on Reid Street (replacing water mains and adding beautification and pedestrian-friendly elements to the street) to minimize disruption overall.

Additionally, more design work will be done to improve safety in the Racing Road/Hydraulic Road area of Highway 97.

The project will involve consolidating access to the highway and installing a traffic signal. MOTI says community engagement will again be sought for this ongoing project.

Finally, MOTI has pledged to continue to investigate the North-South Interconnector route. The Ministry announced in March this year that planning would continue on the project, after successful community engagement in early 2018.

READ MORE: Ministry of Transportation moves forward with North-South Interconnector

READ MORE: Council agrees to endorse Interconnector and South Quesnel intersection fix

The AR-1 North-South Interconnector would see the Quesnel River Bridge replaced, a traffic light installed on the downtown side, and the Interconnector built travelling along the river up to Two Mile Flat.

At a March City Council meeting, an implementation plan was presented. The transportation study indicates the Interconnector plan and business case will take up to five years finalize. Funding would then need to be sought from federal and provincial governments.

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