On June 6 at the District of Houston council meeting, an update about the Hwy. 16 revitalization project was presented.
In September 2016, council met with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to discuss improvements.
In March 2017, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced funding for $300,000.
In May, 2017 council approved an additional $115,000 to be put towards the Hwy. 16 revitalization.
As of June 1, mayor Shane Brienen, and chief administrative officer, Michael Glavin met with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to discuss moving forward with the design and construction this year.
There were two phases of this project for Houston. The north shoulder, which ranges from Benson Avenue to Copeland Avenue along Hwy. 16. And the south shoulder, which ranges from Ninth Street to Butler Avenue on Hwy. 16.
Construction of 570 meters of 1.8 meter sidewalks, 570 meters of curbs, seven units of letdowns, 600 meters of electrical lamps, three electrical services, 25 lamp fixtures, and solar panel expansion are included in the north shoulder improvement project which is going to cost $481,611.
In the south shoulder, buried cable conversion and crossing projects consist of 465 meters of trenching the mail line, 209 meters of trenching services, BC Hydro lines, Telus lines, nine lamp fixtures, three pedestrian crossings which will cost $1,243,556 minus credit covered by the Ministry of Transporation and BC Hydro. The south shoulder also includes improvements of 421 meters of a 2.4 meter sidewalk, 421 meters of curbs, 15 let downs as well as landscaping which will cost $220,233.
The entire Hwy. 16 revitalization project will cost $1,945,167 which includes improvements to both the north and south shoulder, but does not include intersection upgrades.
“Why do you want to get rid of the power lines?” asked councillor Rick Lundrigan.
“For beautification,” said Glavin.
A few more things district staff is looking into for the south shoulder is reopening the road from Hwy. 16 to Poulton Avenue, to close the merging road from Elements onto the Hwy. 16 heading west, and to place a cul-de-sac behind the businesses on Ninth street that face the highway.
“Have you talked to the store owners about that?” asked councillor Tom Stringfellow.
These businesses on the south shoulder of Ninth street to Butler Avenue include Remax, Marmon Financial, Mike’s Audio, City Furniture, Countrywide Printing and Stationery.
“They are receptive to it,” said Glavin.
“I think it is way overdue that we improve our highway in Houston. I am very pleased that our council is moving forward on improvements to Hwy. 16 through our town. I think reopening Poulton Avenue is a good thing, the rest is hard to comment on at this time,” said Tom Euverman, owner of Countrywide Printing and Stationery.
“I don’t mind. That isn’t going to bother us at all. I’m happy with those things,” said Jassie Minhas, manager of City Furniture.
After the presentation staff asked council which shoulder they would like to work on this year. District staff recommended the north shoulder, as the entire project would be able to be completed this year and there would be some leeway for additional costs.
“My only concern is that we have designated the south shoulder for the age friendly section. Why would we not do both sides age friendly?” asked councillor Tim Anderson.
“Cost,” said Glavin. “You don’t really need to two age friendly sides. However, 1.8 meters [on the north shoulder] is still wide.”
Glavin suggested that if council wanted the north shoulder could also be allocated as the age friendly side.
“My concern is that we have always agreed that Steelhead Park is beautiful, but cost wise if we start on the south shoulder, we’ll only be doing little pieces at a time,” said Brienen.
Council also discussed how the south shoulder would make the businesses and main street of Houston more attractive, but still expressed concerns about having an unfinished project.
In the end, Houston council agreed to direct district staff to let the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to start construction on the north shoulder.