Revelstoke council rejects Victoria Road/Trans-Canada intersection upgrade design

It's back to the drawing board for plans to upgrade the busy Victoria/Mutas Road intersection near the Trans-Canada Highway, after city councillors felt preliminary plans were too expensive and needed more revising.

This intersection (Victoria Road and the Woodenhead Loop), off the Trans-Canada Highway, gets backed up with traffic in the summer months. Photo: Emily Kemp/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Update: A special council meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday May 4, to allow council time to consider the design options with engineers.

Earlier: Revelstoke city council rejected a proposed $2.1 million fix for the Victoria Road intersection at the Trans-Canada Highway, citing concerns with the proposed design and increased costs.

The infrastructure project designs were tweaked following stakeholder input and public comments in March, and the cost was also revised up from the initial $1.1 million estimate. At the city council meeting on Tuesday April 26, councillors considered the motion to proceed with the updated preliminary designs, with construction intended to begin this fall.

An aerial view rendering of a proposed traffic congestion fix to the Victoria Road/Mutas Road intersection released to the public on April 22. Photo: City of Revelstoke image
An aerial view rendering of a proposed traffic congestion fix to the Victoria Road/Mutas Road intersection released to the public on April 22. Photo: City of Revelstoke image

Councillor Connie Brothers began the discussion, stating that she was concerned the designs were an expensive quick fix.

“I’m still not confident about this whole situation and where we’re going and what we’re doing with it,” she said.

“I just want to make sure that we’re not putting a Band-Aid on something for that amount of money, rather than really dealing with the problem totally.”

But Councillor Linda Nixon encouraged councillors to pass the recommendation so the project would not be delayed. She said that traffic engineers had addressed the project since 2010, when the master transportation plan was worked on.

“I really think we can not put off moving those people from Columbia Park, back and forth safely into their neighbourhood,” she said. “And I really feel that we need move forward with trying to mitigate — because that’s what we’re doing, we’re mitigating, because we’re not going to please everyone,” she said.

“But I really think we have an obligation as council to that Columbia Park neighbourhood to move forward with this plan.”

Mayor Mark McKee echoed comments on the cost but ultimately wanted more time for consultation and planning.

“I agree with councillor Nixon that we have an obligation to keep moving forward and it would be nice to be solving the problems, especially for the people in Columbia Park. I can’t say I’m 100 per cent happy with the plan,” he said.

“I want to move fast if I’m convinced that this is going to solve a problem and it’s going to be better in the long term.”

City of Revelstoke’s director of engineering, Mike Thomas, said the current timeline of constructing the roundabout this fall would not be guaranteed if the designs were not approved.

Councillors considered the option of moving forward with just the roundabout while allowing more time to rework the rest of the plans, but Thomas advised against this idea.

“If there’s not agreement on the whole plan, I would probably recommend not proceeding with just the roundabout, as it is,” he said. “The roundabout as a standalone option for Wright Street to manage traffic just at Wright Street, is not necessary at this stage and it would be a very expensive intersection upgrade.”

A vote went forward and the motion was defeated with councillors Orlando, Nixon and Duke voting for and Mayor Mark McKee and councillors Sulz, English and Brothers voting against.

Council and City of Revelstoke staff will now discuss with McElhanney Consulting Services on how to go forward with the project.

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