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Clarenville council decides to hold off on Shoal Harbour Drive changes

The Shoal Harbour Drive intersection has received some complaints about traffic flow lately.
The Shoal Harbour Drive intersection. - File photo



After a traffic study by Harbourside engineering consultants, Clarenville town council toyed with the idea of improving the flow of cars on Shoal Harbour Drive by reducing the traffic to three lanes and installing turning arrows at the intersection with O’Mahony Drive-Thompson Drive.

However, at the Tuesday, Aug. 28, council meeting, they decided to postpone making a definite decision until after the winter.

Chief administrative officer David Harris said at the meeting they’ve highlighted some concerns with the proposal submitted by Harbourside which have influenced the decision to wait before making any more changes. Councillors walked the area of Shoal Harbour Drive earlier on Tuesday to better familiarize themselves with the proposed changes.

Harris says they had concerns with the length of some of the turning lanes and some entrance issues for some of the businesses on the street.

Also, since the entire process would take eight weeks, with the colder months approaching, this affected the decision to wait.

“Given that there’s going to be delay in proceeding with this work and given that the timeline is going to push us into the winter months, it would be my recommendation that we wait until spring of 2019 until we make any permanent long-term changes,” said Harris.

He added that the last thing they wanted would be for the work to continue in the winter, as was the case with the initial installation of the traffic lights and line painting last winter.

“My recommendation to council is to defer any changes to Shoal Harbour Drive until we have time to sit with the consultant again and go over the issues that have been raised and sit down with a couple business owners to discuss some potential changes to the entrance of their business and any effects that may have on them.”

Harris told The Packet that by waiting it may save money in not having to remove the existing lines on the road — since they would likely be worn away after the winter — he says it wasn’t a factor in their decision.

Removing the lines would cost an estimated $11,000 according to Harris, while the installation of the turning arrows in the lights, with sensors below the asphalt, would cost about over $12,000, plus HST.

Harris says he wouldn’t council to rush into these changes just to have to reverse them in the future.

As for the councillors’ concerns, Coun. John Pickett said he agrees with the decision to wait.

In addition, Public Works and Planning committee chairman Coun. Bill Bailey says after sizing up the street with three other councillors, there are more questions to be asked regarding the changes.

However, planning will continue up until next spring when they will then make a decision regarding the changes to the traffic on the street.

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