Roundabouts coming for south side of Chilliwack

Council asked staff to decide if a traffic light or a roundabout would be the best option for busy corners on the south side of Chilliwack.

Construction of two new roundabouts on the south side of Chilliwack should start some time later this year.

One will be at the intersection of Tyson Road and Watson Road, while the other is going in at Tyson and Keith Wilson Road. Both locations currently have four-way stops.

To identify qualified companies for the design-build project, City of Chilliwack issued a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) this week, which closes on April 16.

The question of how to keep traffic flowing in that increasingly busy part of town was referred to city staff to decide if a traffic light or a roundabout would be the best option.

“Staff have come back and identified that a roundabout design would be a good solution to the traffic issues,” said Coun. Jason Lum, who is chair of the transportation advisory committee.

If it’s efficient at reducing the bottleneck situations and it can be done at a lower cost to the taxpayer, it makes sense, he said.

Both single-lane roundabouts referred to in the RFEI have an estimated budget of $850,000.

City staff are working on land purchase details and relocating private utilities, like hydro poles for example.

The purpose for the RFEI is to shortlist up to three respondents who, at the RFP stage, will submit detailed proposals.

Tyson and Keith Wilson Roads are considered arterial roads, which makes them integral to the city’s “designated truck route system” while Watson Road is a major “collector” road. The RFEI documents explain the rationale for the project: “The population densities outlined in the Official Community Plan, along with short term and long term transportation needs and the recent addition of the Evans Road Interchange project and other proximate development require improvements to accommodate increased traffic flow.”

It also mentions that while “preferred completion of the project” is by October 31, 2013, factors like property purchase and utility relocation may delay the completion.

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