Quesnel City Council has voted unanimously to keep industrial traffic off of Johnston Avenue.
That is something that has been in place since the 1970’s when there was a fatal accident involving a logging truck and a child.
Traffic to the West Fraser Plywood Plant has been going through Maple Drive in the Red Bluff area since the Johnston bridge was closed to heavy traffic in October of 2018 following a bridge inspection that revealed some corrosion problems on some of the main beams.
Council received a couple of letters from trucking companies that wanted to use Johnston due to safety concerns on Maple Drive.
But City Manager Byron Johnson presented a report to Council on Tuesday night noting several problems with that…
” Specific concerns raised by public works staff on allowing industrial traffic on Johnston are as follow. Residential development on this street is much closer to the roadway than most of the residential along Maple Drive. There are two crosswalks on Maple Drive, there are eight crosswalks on Johnston. This roadway has not been developed to an industrial weight standard meaning that heavier traffic will blow out that road sooner.”
In addition to that, Johnson says the Johnston Avenue route to the plywood plant also has significant adverse grades, both at the Highway 97 connection point and on Plywood hill.
Staff also felt that access by loaded logging trucks around the Johnston Bridge roundabout could be problematic.
Conversely, Johnson noted that Maple Drive was developed to handle industrial weight.
Mayor Bob Simpson noted that work was underway to try to make Maple Drive safer…
“The Director for the area, Director Sjostrom, is working with the Ministry of Transportation and CRD staff to get better lighting on the road so that is in the works.”
Simpson also talked about how the CRD and the School District are also considering whether there are alternate pedestrian and biking routes, which could allow access to Maple Drive, while keeping the users away from the main roadway.
And he says the Ministry of Transportation has reduced the speed limit on Maple Drive to 30 kilometers an hour for the roadway in front of and between the two schools.