New year brings new roundabouts

Properties along Prest Road are being purchased by City of Chilliwack this month to smooth the way for future roundabout construction.

The busy intersection of Prest and Bailey roads will soon be home to a roundabout.

The busy intersection of Prest and Bailey roads will soon be home to a roundabout.

Properties along Prest Road are being purchased by City of Chilliwack this month to smooth the way for future roundabout construction and road widening.

It’s the first stage of multi-million dollar project for Prest Road between Bailey and Prairie Central Road geared to addressing Chilliwack’s north/south traffic problem going to and from Promontory.

Traffic volumes are almost evenly split on the two north/south corridors up the hill, but they’re getting to the point where they’ll require relief in the form of road improvements, say engineering officials.

The goal is increasing both capacity and safety for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. They’ll also add bike lanes and two single-lane roundabouts, at Bailey Road, and the other at Prairie Central, and eventually one at McGuire.

Property purchases for the first couple of roundabouts on Prest could take several months to complete, said city staff, and they will work with about 10 local property owners on those issues.

After the property acquisitions, they begin Hydro and Telus pole relocations, which can take up to a year, followed by the Prest roundabout reconstruction which should begin in 2015.

Engineering design calls for upgrades in phases up to the year 2051, at a total of about $30 million, which will be funded by development cost charges.

City staff has compared signalized intersections with modern roundabouts, factoring in safety, efficiency and cost, and determined that modern roundabouts “provide the optimum design solution.”

Evans roundabout was one of the first for Chilliwack, but now more are on the way.

Plans for the other two upcoming roundabout projects are well underway on Tyson at Watson and Tyson at Keith Wilson.

For the Tyson roundabouts, city staff said they’ve completed the property purchases required and in the new year pole relocation will be underway by January or February.

Five poles are set to be relocated at each location.

Construction on the Tyson roundabouts is scheduled to begin in 2014.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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