Two representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) attended an Oct. 21 board meeting for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) to provide an update on traffic on Highway 16.
Assistant District Manager Fort George District Corrin Peet, and District Program Manager of Bulkley and Stikine Rosemary Barnewall were the representatives present at the meeting.
The first part of the presentation was centred around passing lanes. According to Peet, since 2001, MOTI has constructed 21 new passing lanes on Highway 16, the most recent being the Broman passing lane, is scheduled to be completed this fall. Of the 21 passing lanes, 16 are between Prince George and Smithers.
Peet told the board that Highway 16 is moving quite well as a result of the passing lane construction.
The second part of the presentation surrounded annual average daily traffic. A graph of information was shown to the board providing daily traffic numbers for Bednesti, Fort Fraser, Kitwanga East, Kitwanga West and Prince Rupert. Bednesti showed the highest amount of traffic with a consistent average of 4,000 cars per day since 2013. Fort Fraser was at about 2,000 cars per day, while Prince George, Kitwanga East and Kitwanga West all were between 1,00o and 1,500 cars per day.
The board brought up some issues with the presentation however, mainly that there was significant data gaps, particularly from Vanderhoof to Smithers, where a high volume of traffic travels.
“There is a technical issue with a sensor, we know that there’s a pretty big gap between Fort Fraser and Kitwanga, so hopefully that sensor will be up and running this year,” said Barnewall.
After lengthy discussions on the matter, the board requested that Peet and Barnewall provide more data and information on the stretch of Highway 16 in question, and also made a motion to write a direct letter to the ministry requesting the information as well.
“I was a little bit shocked at how little data there was available, especially since the data gaps were in the exact area that the RDBN sits in,” RDBN Chair Gerry Thiessen said to the board at the conclusion of the presentation.
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