Hot Springs Road is not owned by the Village of Harrison, but was included in the transportation master plan because of its importance to the village’s travel routes. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Repairs recommended for Harrison bridges, roads, transportation plan says

The plan outlines which roads need urgent repairs; what Harrison can do to be more bike-friendly

Harrison’s new Transportation Master Plan shows there’s room for improvement on all of the village’s roads.

Approved Monday night at council (Aug. 12), the plan looked at all the village-owned roads and trails, as well as the province’s Hot Springs Road and Lillooet Avenue, to make recommendations on priority repairs and methods to allow safer and better integrated biking and walking trails.

Dave Cullen, an engineer with CTQ Consultants, who completed the plan, was keen to point out to council Monday that the plan was a “live document” and not a step-by-step process the village had to follow.

“This is not a plan per say,” he said. “It’s an active, live document that allows you to manage your assets in relationship to all the other assets you have to manage.”

SEE ALSO: Road assessment, sidewalk replacement on the way for Agassiz

Bridges

According to the report, Harrison’s bridges are in good condition, for the most part.

The newer, concrete structure of the two McCombs Drive bridges are able to withstand the traffic volume and weight that drive over them. The wood abutments, on the other hand, are seeing significant issues.

Although the concrete structure was replaced, the abutments were not, and as traffic drives over the bridge, it is slowly pushing the abutments out.

“The village is in a precarious position because McCoombs is the alternate route if anything was to happen on Hot Springs,” Cullen said. “To have one of those structures taken out of service because of a failure … would not be a good thing.”

He noted that the bridge is unlikely to have a catastrophic collapse because of these issues, but would rather end up costing immense amounts of money over time, as the village attempts to do dozens of small repairs over the years.

The plan recommends a “next-level look” at the abutments, to see how they can be enhanced or replaced — with or without replacing the upper decks.

Roads

In addition to the bridges, the report also looked at all 12.3 kilometres of village-owned roads. A number of the village’s roads are more than 50 years old, and will require rehabilitation in the next 20 or 25 years.

The top priorities for the village are Echo Avenue, Alder Avenue and McPherson Road.

The Echo Avenue rehabilitation is recommended to take place in 2020, and would include drainage work to the road. That work is estimated to cost just over $477,000. Work on Alder Avenue is recommended for 2021 ($276,500) and work on McPherson Road, which would also include drainage, is recommended for 2022 ($807,000). Esplanade and Lillooet Avenues and their offshoots make up the majority of the projects from 2023 to 2030.

For the first 10 years the plan recommends rehabilitating one road every year. After 2030, the number of projects recommended for each year increases.

Cullen noted that not every project identified in the report will be completed when the plan recommends, and that not every project may even get done within the 25 years.

“The reality is you’re not likely to complete all of the items we’ve identified for enhancing and maintaining your infrastructure … just because of the cost,” he told council.

Speed

In addition to road repairs, the plan also recommended that Harrison reduce its speed limit to 40 km/hr.

RELATED: Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

“If you go from 50 km/hr down to 40 km/hr, we’ve taken the drive from the far end of town to the lake, and we’ve increased it by eight seconds,” Cullen said. “It’s a relatively minor change, but it makes the road that much more user friendly for all those other elements.”

The report also identified roads that encourage speeding in the village because of their design: Alder Avenue, McPherson Road, Hadway Drive, McCoombs Drive and Eagle Street. It also noted that Hot Springs Road and Lillooet Avenue encourage “rat racing” because of their straight, wide and flat surface.

Ministry of Transportation

Although the report was designed for the Village of Harrison, it also looked at potential changes to Hot Springs Road and Lillooet Avenue. These routes are owned by the Ministry of Transportation, but are “integral” for the village transportation, Cullen said.

According to Cullen, CTQ Consultants has been in contact with the ministry about the possibility of changing the road design to help lower speeds and improve “active transportation” (pedestrians, bikes, e-bikes, scooters, etc.) along those routes.

“Lillooet is unique in that I’ve rarely seen this much asphalt that’s not used for an airport,” Cullen said. “There’s a lot of asphalt on Lillooet, and it has a number of confusing elements” including the reverse angle parking.

CTQ is recommending the ministry improve green space along Lillooet Avenue by adding a multi-use bike path next to the sidewalk, with a buffer of trees before the angle parking. This would reduce the width of the road, encouraging fewer people to turn into the parking spaces from the opposite lane. Another option also includes adding a boulevard of trees down the centre of the road, although this would reduce the number of parking spaces and the efficiency of a bike path.

For Hot Springs Road, the main goal is to bring a continuous multi-use trail beside the road. In one plan, a boulevard would separate the path from the road.

SEE ALSO: Study shows increase in mountain bike tourism in B.C.

Another option also included pull-out parking spaces, but as the right of way is not wide enough for both the trail and the parking, this would impact the continuity of the active transportation network.

The plan also included ways that Harrison could improve active transportation on its own roads. A separate two-way bike lane is recommended for McCoombs Drive, Eagle Street, McPherson Road and Miami River Drive, while single-laning vehicle traffic and adding oversized shoulders was recommended for Hadway Avenue.

Council received the Transportation Master Plan, but did not make any decisions on the recommendations contained within the plan. Coun. Gerry Palmer did make an amendment to remove a recommendation to include a parking lot on Mount Street and another on Echo Avenue.



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

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