The intersection of Maryland Road and Highway 19A is one of four that a recent city traffic study found warrants for a traffic light, and it will get it before the year is out.

Long-contentious Campbell River intersection to get traffic light this fall

Maryland and Highway 19A was found to be one of four spots that merritt a traffic light

Residents at the southernmost end of Campbell River will soon have one new way to get out of their subdivision and one that is much more controlled than before.

At this week’s meeting of city council, the city approved the tender for a traffic light at the intersection of Maryland Road and Highway 19A, meaning the lights are officially three to four months away from being installed and fully operational.

The intersection has long been a point of contention in the south end. Residents of the subdivision had been complaining about safety issues at that intersection due to increased residential buildout in the area over the years, and in a 2017 traffic study, it was highlighted as one of four intersections that warranted a traffic light.

The light was approved in December of 2017, but staff then needed to design the intersection and signalling before putting the work out to tender.

The city had budgeted $225,000 for the lighting, but two of the three bids the city received came in well under that, which caught the attention of Coun. Michele Babchuk.

“I’m just wondering why there was such a big difference (in bid amounts)?” Babchuk asked. “But to add to that, knowing that some of the other traffic lights we’ve put in have been upwards of $400,000, why is this one coming in so low?”

Clinton Crook, the city’s purchasing and risk management officer, says that the third bid was from a company in the Lower Mainland, “so obviously they have additional costs to come over here to do the work,” and the city’s general manager of asset and operations, Dave Morris, says the lower cost of this particular set of lights “is that this is only a three-way (intersection), so it is cheaper, accordingly.”

The three-to-four-month timeline on that project, Morris says, “is because it’s all custom equipment so it takes a little while to have it made,” adding that while there may be some traffic disruption while the work takes place, he doesn’t expect it will be significant.

“I don’t anticipate any detours or anything,” he says. “There will probably be some alternating one-way traffic at times, but there will be notification given and that would be specific to the actual installation, so it will be relatively short.”

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“There’s going to be a lot of happy people down in that subdivision,” Coun. Charlie Cornfield says, recognizing that the city has been receiving complaints from residents and requests to address that intersection for years.

Meanwhile, the work continues on the intersection of Willow Creek Road and Jubilee Parkway to add another entrance into the area. That work is also nearing completion, but the city can’t give an exact timeline on that intersection opening, Morris says, because they’re not the ones doing the work. That work is being done by the developer of the subdivision as a requirement of the development permits given by the city.

Morris says he fully expects it to be open and operational before the end of summer.

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