Highway lanes won’t return

Transportation ministry halts plans to re-install acceleration lanes on Highway 97A in Armstrong and Spallumcheen

The transportation ministry has halted any plans to re-install acceleration lanes along Highway 97A in Armstrong and Spallumcheen.

The lanes were removed at Smith Road, Harding Road and Rosedale Avenue after the highway was four-laned during a road construction project in 2011.

Project manager Rampaul Dulay explained in a letter that statistics collected from traffic counts for turning at Smith Road and Rosedale Avenue backed up the ministry’s rationale for not providing acceleration lanes, as explained to Armstrong and Spallumcheen civic officials during an on-site meeting in March.

At the on-site meeting, officials said no acceleration lanes were put in because of low traffic volume and not a lot of right-turn traffic.

According to the ministry, the average wait time to make a right turn at the Smith Road intersection was 1.7 seconds. The minimum wait time was 0.30 seconds and the maximum wait time was 14 seconds.

“A traffic signal at Smith Road provides frequent gaps for right-turn movement,” said Dulay.

“There are sufficient volumes of northbound left- and eastbound left-turning vehicles to cause the signal to stop southbound Highway 97A traffic creating frequent opportunities for eastbound right-turning traffic to turn unopposed.”

Dulay said it would be unsafe to build acceleration and decelerations back-to-back between Smith Road and Rosedale Avenue due to a lack of required separation.

The Rosedale Avenue intersection on the west (Armstrong) side of the highway would ahve to be closed to meet ministry standards if an acceleration lane was to be added.

Traffic volumes for right-turns at Rosedale are considered low, according to Dulay.

“The highest right-turning movement in the AM peak was recorded at 63 vehicles per hour and in the PM peak, it was 31 vehicles per hour,” said Dulay, whose numbers show the average wait time to make a right-turn at Rosedale is 5.5 seconds, minimum wait time is 0.31 seconds and the maximum wait time is 31 seconds.

Acceleration lanes are not warranted at Harding Road due to low traffic volume, wrote Dulay, with numbers lower than at Rosedale Avenue.

The ministry had received letters from both Armstrong and Spallumcheen councils asking them to reconsider the acceleration lanes.