Hazardous walkway gets funding

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo A line on the pavement indicates the walkway on the east side of the Super A service road.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
A line on the pavement indicates the walkway on the east side of the Super A service road.

Town council has accepted the cost of building a 2.5-metre addition on the west side of the Super A service road to deal with what it has described as a dangerous situation.

However, the expenditure of an estimated $140,625 to move a walking lane, and add signage and traffic barriers, won’t take place until next year.

With the construction of the new Hay River Regional Health Centre just across Highway 2, the town created a walking lane on the east side of the service road to connect with a crosswalk to be built soon by the GNWT on the highway.

The walking lane on the service road is indicated by a line on the side of the pavement.

However, due to many vehicles accessing businesses on the east side of the road – some backing in and out over the walking lane – council is concerned about safety.

The walkway is also often blocked by parked vehicles, forcing pedestrians to walk onto the roadway.

Even as they were unanimously approving the expenditure on Sept. 19, some councillors were still wondering what can be immediately done to improve the safety on the existing walking lane.

“This money was not in the budget so this is for next year,” said Coun. Kandis Jameson. “But meanwhile can we not move the line from one side of the road to the other?”

Jameson said all councillors agree it is a safety issue.

“I think that if we move the line, it would show a pathway and maybe we could put signage up or something,” she said.

Coun. Vince McKay said the idea of simply drawing a line for a walkway on the west side of the service road had been previously discussed, and was discounted because of vehicles parking on that side.

“So the big trucks that pull in there wouldn’t be able to park anywhere else really,” he said. “That was part of the reason why we didn’t decide to move it last time.”

Deputy mayor Donna-Lee Jungkind agreed that simply drawing a line on the west side of the road would cut off any type of parking.

“My two cents on it is I think we probably leave it as is until we do the whole thing,” she said.

Coun. Keith Dohey asked about possibly lowering the speed limit from the current 40 km per hour on the service road as one way to improve safety.

“I’m wondering if that’s something anybody has ever entertained?” he asked.

The idea of lowering the speed limit will be added to the agenda of an upcoming council meeting.

Along with the Super A grocery store and its convenience store and gas bar, other businesses and buildings on the service road include Hay River Suites, Monster Recreational Services, an engineering firm and a church.

–Paul Bickford