Skip to content

City seeks grants for Lanfear Hill improvements

Population growth on the Bench drives need for better access
Artist’s illustration of an elevated and separate pathway going up Lanfear Hill. (Illustration courtesy the City of Terrace)

Improvements to a key road connecting the lower part of Terrace to the fast-growing Bench rely solely on how successful the city is in obtaining millions of dollars in senior government grants.

Staffers are projecting an expenditure of $6.5 million to cover everything from a crosswalk at the bottom of Lanfear Hill to a safer and wider pathway for pedestrians and cyclists, and safer vehicle lanes up the hill to a roundabout at the top of the hill.

A safer and wider pathway would cost the most, an estimated $4.09 million, followed by the roundabout at $1.86 million and improvements to the Lanfear Hill roadway shoulder at $550,000, indicates a proposed city budget document now out for public review.

Budget notes also indicate the work can only take place if the city does get grants and that it may take several years for the complete project plan for what is being called the Lanfear Corridor Improvement Project, to be realized.

Staffers have applied for more than one grant for different components of the overall project in hopes that an unsuccessful response to one application will be covered off by a successful response to another application.

Improvements to the narrow width of the Lanfear Hill traffic lanes and its inadequate sidewalk have been on the city’s ‘to do’ list for years, but always driven by the need for outside assistance because the city’s tax base could not afford the cost.

At one time the city unsuccessfully applied for a federal $10 million grant for a wholesale reconstruction of the hill.

The prospect of a roundabout emerged several years ago as a solution to do away with residential streets that converge at the top of the hill, presenting safety challenges at key times of the day as traffic either turns off at the top of the hill or motorists seek to drive down the hill.

“The roundabout construction is a part of a larger Lanfear Corridor Improvement Project which addresses a number of issues in the vicinity of Lanfear Drive, including projected growth and active transportation improvements,” city councillors were told as staffers briefed them on planned capital projects in December.

Figures from the B.C. Assessment Authority show that the vast majority of new home construction in recent years has taken place on the Bench.

The most ambitious part of the forecast improvements would move the sidewalk from the edge of the roadway to the other side of the road.

A construction plan calls for a pathway cutting into the hill that would be raised and separate from the road surface for the first half of the way up the hill and then level with the surface the rest of the way. It would be approximately three metres wide. Stabilizing the shoulder portion of the road would allow slightly wider vehicle lanes.

The roundabout at the top of Lanfear Hill would eliminate the McConnell intersection to the west and the Cooper Drive intersection to the east.

“A roundabout would reduce the delays experienced by the eastbound movement on McConnell Ave. and alleviate the safety concerns related to the intersection’s alignment and lack of available sight distances,” a traffic study commissioned two years ago indicated.

The city has already purchased property on the corner of McConnell and Thomas at the top of the hill in anticipation of more roadway improvements.

About the Author: Rod Link

Read more