City accelerates highway demand

Armstrong council wants meeting to discuss the elimination of acceleration lanes on a new stretch of Highway 97A

A written explanation from the Ministry of Transportation for to the elimination of acceleration lanes on Highway 97A isn’t enough for the City of Armstrong.

Council wants an in-person meeting with officials to discuss why the lanes were taken out in 2011 when a four-laning project through Spallumcheen and the city was completed in November.

A letter from the ministry in response to a joint letter from the city and township explained that engineers who designed the new highway felt the volume of right-turns throughout the corridor were relatively low and not expected to reach the level where separate acceleration lanes would be required in the near future.

The lanes were eliminated at Smith Road – the entrance to Armstrong at Highway 97A – along with Rosedale Avenue and Harding Road.

“Since we sent the letter, I go down the valley and look at all the acceleration lanes,” said Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper. “We’ve got one coming out of Pleasant Valley Road. I’m sure there’s more traffic on Smith Road, which I think is important for an acceleration lane. Smith Road is our main entrance.”

Coun. Ryan Nitchie suggested a note be put in the letter requesting a meeting regarding sincere safety concerns over the lack of acceleration lanes.

“With a single-lane highway, we had acceleration lanes. With a double-lane highway, we don’t,” said Nitchie. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

Coun. Kelly Rowe questioned the engineer’s figures about low right-turn numbers.

“The volume of people leaving Armstrong are going south,” said Rowe.

“And that’s where they’ve taken the lanes away.”

Council voted unanimously to send a letter requesting a meeting to discuss the lanes.