Nearly six years after Barnhartvale residents marched up Todd Road to bring attention to needed pedestrian improvements, construction on a sidewalk and crosswalk will begin this spring.
On Thursday night, about two-dozen residents trickled in to an information session hosted by the city at R. L. Clemitson elementary regarding the long-awaited Todd Road project, which is in the negotiated request for proposal stage.
“Six years?” said Todd Road resident Karen Ferguson, who took part in that 2013 walk. “Come on, let’s get another painted line down the road. It is a very long time.”
Back in 2013, parents cited fear for their kids’ safety along Todd Road as they walked to the elementary school. Those concerns continue today.
Driving up Todd Road en route to the information session on Thursday night, this reporter was tailgated up the hill. Residents say vehicles don’t slow down once they hit the residential area at Klahanie Drive. From there, it’s a narrow and windy stretch with blind corners and driveways — and without sidewalks. Drainage gutters line one side of the road and properties butt up against the other.
Despite that, residents, including children, could be spotted walking, running and pushing a stroller on Thursday. Some residents walked to the information session.
“That road is disgusting,” Ferguson said. “In the wintertime, when we get the windrows and all that, you can’t get two cars by sometimes. And then you’ve got the kids walking on it? It’s really sketchy sometimes.”
The city said it has heard loud calls for road improvement from Barnhartvale residents, who point to projects completed in other neighbourhoods, such as Westsyde Pool and Fitness Centre and Highland Road leading to Juniper Ridge.
The city said it but waited to tackle pedestrian upgrades as part of a larger road and utilities project in Barnhartvale. In addition to a crosswalk and sidewalk, the estimated $3.9-million Todd Road project, which spans from Klahanie Drive to Ronde Lane, will include road repaving, water service upgrades and a new drainage system, among other lighting, retaining wall and bus stop improvements.
The inconsistent road width, which currently varies from six to seven metres, will be a uniform 3.5 metres per lane.
Capital project supervisor Rick Ewings said the city has an inventory of the roads needs and prioritizes projects based on a five-year plan for local, collector and arterial roads. The city does one collector road of this scope every year. In previous years, Singh Street, Richmond Avenue and Windbreak Street were determined to be higher priorities.
“If you were to do the sidewalk a couple years ago, then they would have not done the road, which is in kind of bad shape,” Ewings said. “So they waited until the road came up to the top so that when we had funding for the road, we would do it all at the same time. They kind of held off until the road was time for it to get done.”
The city appears to be working with residents. An initial open house identified concerns over driveway grades worsening and, as a result, the sidewalk design was moved to the other side of the road, where it is not expected to negatively impact driveways. One parent on Thursday raised the issue of adding a second crosswalk to the project, at Klahanie Drive, in order to calm traffic at the beginning of the residential area. A crosswalk is included closer to the school.
“It might be wise to put one right here, too,” Ewings said. “I’ll talk to the design engineer and traffic department to see if it warrants it.”
Drivers can expect single-lane alternating traffic, with possible intermittent road closures, during construction from May to August. The project is expected to wrap up by the time the 2019-2020 school year begins in September.
More information can be found online at letstalk.kamloops.ca/toddroad.
Residents cited other projects they would like completed in the area, including repairs to a dip in Barnhartvale Road, more road repairs along Todd Road and water line upgrades.