Problem intersection to get redesign

An awkward and unsafe downtown intersection will soon see a redesign.

The city has put out a tender that calls on contractors to bid on the creation of a new design for the Main Street and 5th Avenue intersection.

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Where 5th Avenue connects with Main Street, the western end is further north than the eastern end, forcing drivers on 5th Avenue to turn onto Main Street, travel 15 metres and then turn again to continue their journey.

Erin Standish, the co-ordinator of the downtown improvement district, said a fixed-up intersection would be fantastic.

“From a downtown business improvement district perspective, any development in the downtown is always exciting and any dollars put into our streets are exciting,” she said. “That intersection has proven to be a challenge because of safety and logistics.”

Standish said a potential realignment of the streets not only allows for a practical, safe and attractive crossing for vehicles and pedestrians, it also presents an opportunity to develop green space that will help link the north and south ends of the district – divided by nearby railroad tracks – together.

The downtown business improvement was specifically mentioned as an interested party in the tender document.

Bids for the tender are due Sept. 5, with the winner selected at the Sept. 29 council meeting. A preliminary design is expected Nov. 12, with public open houses to follow. A detailed design will be due Feb. 11.

The tender said once the intersection is realigned, more traffic could be seen on 5th Avenue as it could be faster for some to travel to the high school, Uniplex and mall on that road compared to using Highway #5, so it wants the winning bidder to consider if a traffic light will be needed. The city is also interested in using 5th Avenue as a detour route when there’s construction on Highway #5.

Also mentioned in the tender is Canadian National’s desire to close the 7th Street railway crossing a block east of Main Street. Motorists use that route when the Main Street crossing is blocked by shunting cars. There is an alternative crossing at 5th Street.

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