Access being improved at busy Keith intersection

On Keith Ave. between Evergreen and Kalum, a Great Canadian Oil Change is being built and a double-lane Tim Hortons drive-thru.

Double drive-thru lanes are being put in at Tim Hortons beside the Great Canadian Oil Change now under construction.

There’s a lot going on Keith Ave. between Evergreen and Kalum where a Great Canadian Oil Change is being constructed and a double lane drive-thru at Tim Hortons is going in beside it.

The work follows calls for a better way for Tim Hortons drive-thru customers to enter and leave the single drive-thru lane there now without blocking other traffic and also plugging up Keith Ave.

“We have leased the property from the developer on the other side,” says Tim Hortons’ manager Norma Giddy of the deal to create a new traffic lane for Tim Hortons customers.

The new lane will come in from Evergreen street right south of the Great Canadian Oil Change and will proceed through a second order booth before merging into a single lane again which will pass by the same counter where the items are handed to customers.

“I think it will look nice,” said Giddy of the new neighbour soon to be beside them.

“Kondolas is red and white, we’re red, Great Canadian Oil Change is red and white and there is red and white across the corner,” she said.

According to local Dal Steffensen who frequents the Tim Hortons, and who used to go to a Great Canadian Oil Change outlet in Alberta, the company does the job quick.

“The only time you see them is when they pop out from underneath,” he said of the system the company has where a vehicle parks overtop of an underground service room where the staff are. “You never get out of the vehicle,” he added.

Steffensen says the new lane for the double drive-thru at Tim Hortons could help reduce the danger at the Kalum/Keith intersection.

He also thinks any traffic added by the Great Canadian Oil Change will be manageable with the new lanes.

And he said he has witnessed the danger himself at Keith and Kalum.

“I heard a howl of tire once and a chip truck came skidding to a stop because there was traffic backed up down the road,” he said of the current single drive-thru system which means a bottleneck at the mouth of the busy Keith Ave. corridor.

That intersection had 32 accidents between 2009 and 2013, the last period the province gathered statistics,  making it the most  dangerous intersection, ahead of Hwy16/Kenney (28 accidents) and Kalum/Park (21 accidents).

The RCMP earlier this year warned they would start ticketing drivers who were parked dangerously out on Kalum as they entered for the single drive-thru.

Not everyone is convinced the double drive-thru system will help them get their coffee any faster.

“It will help alleviate the pressure off the intersection,” said Bill Nelson, as he pulled through.

“But it’s going to create just as much of a bottleneck. If they are going to have two lanes, they need to have two pickup windows.”

“It’s needed,” said another customer Doug Davidson. “Apparently the police were nailing people out here for blocking the road because they couldn’t get into the line-up.”

The Tim Hortons drive-thru upgrade is expected to be completed this week.