Some Enderby residents are concerned changes to traffic patterns could cause havoc.
The Ministry of Transportation is currently in the midst of installing lights with left-turn lanes on Highway 97A, at Hubert and Mill streets. A median will discourage such movements on to other side roads.
“A lot of people aren’t happy with the current model of the highway project,” said resident Ed Murdoch.
Murdoch believes only allowing left-turns in certain locations will make it difficult for residents to get around town.
“They aren’t making traffic changes for people who live in Enderby,” he said.
It’s been suggested tourists could be inconvenienced.
“No left-turn lanes will really impact businesses,” said one woman who didn’t want her name used.
“Are you going to go up to the next light, turn around and go three blocks just to go to the store? I think not.”
Murdoch would like a centre left-turning lane, also known as a two-way left-turn lane, installed through the entire length of Enderby.
He says such a device would allow for increased access on to side roads.
“As an ex-trucker with 50 years on the road, I always breathed a sigh of relief when I went into a town with a centre left-turning lane,” he said.
“There wouldn’t be the sudden jamming stops from people wanting to turn left from the main lane.”
Murdoch is encouraging residents to demand changes to the design before paving occurs.
“I’d dearly love for (MLA) George Abbott to get involved,” he said.
The City of Enderby insists it played a limited role in the design of the highway corridor.
“We looked at it and thought it was a solution that would work well,” said Mayor Dee Wejr of a centre left-turning lane.
“The ministry called them suicide lanes and they would not consider them. It’s a main highway and we don’t have the final say.”
Ministry officials defend the design.
“We’re putting in left-turn lanes at two intersections,” said Ken Aura, project manager.
“People can wait in those lanes to turn without backing up traffic on the highway.”
As for a centre left-turn lane, Aura says the concept has been considered.
“The intersections in Enderby are closely spaced together and there are private accesses so that would create a lot of conflict points. There is the potential for head-on collisions,” he said.
The federal and provincial governments have funded the $4.17 million highway project, with the city contributing towards water and sewer works.
“We’re working hard to get it all done before summer traffic starts,” said Aura.