The Sande Overpass in Terrace from above.

Traffic lights, turn lanes to be added to Sande Overpass

Province says this will ease traffic bottleneck in Terrace, B.C.

The provincial government says it will install traffic lights on the south end of the Sande Overpass where it meets Keith Ave. and put in a new turn lane, both of which it says will increase safety and ease traffic congestion on the Hwy16 structure in Terrace.

The overpass will also be paved, but that won’t happen until next year.

Announced today, the projects likely mean requests for an additional traffic route over the CN tracks which divide the city will have to continue.

Speaking this morning, transportation minister Todd Stone said an original idea to construct a roundabout or traffic circle at the overpass so traffic could flow more smoothly wasn’t feasible.

“We looked at a number of options from a technical engineering perspective and determined that the most viable solution based on the actual site and the amount of land on the site was to have traffic signals installed there, that ensure the maximum safety for drivers at this location,” said Stone.

He said a new eastbound turning lane will make the crossing not only safer but also less congested.

Traffic signals should also make it safer for pedestrians at the south end of the overpass, he added.

Also to happen this summer is repaving 8km of Hwy16 from Thornhill into Terrace along Keith Ave., stopping at the overpass and resuming once over the overpass west to Kenney St.

Next year, the Sande Overpass will also be resurfaced.

The three projects, depending on how the bidding process goes, will cost approximately $7 million over two yeaers, says regional transportation ministry official Carl Lutz.

A long truck plan calls for new pullouts along Hwy16 as well as new tourist stops, although how many are for this area is not yet determined, said Stone.

When the government’s long-term spending plans were released earlier this week, Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin said he was disappointed that he didn’t see the Haisla Bridge in Kitimat mentioned.

Austin said the bridge “is literally falling apart.”