GRANT HAMILTON / BRANDON SUN
Connecting the western portion of Pacific Avenue with its central counterpart will route a road alongside the CP Rail tracks and right beside the existing Alaska Bay, technically a private road. New intersections will be built at 26th Street and at the northeast corner of Alaska Bay, as well as connecting the road to the existing 18th Street underpass.
Construction of a road that city engineer Ted Snure says should have been built 15 years ago will finally begin next year.
City hall has approved connecting Pacific Avenue from 26th Street (pictured) to 18th Street. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
Pacific Avenue will be extended to connect 26th Street to 18th Street, a project that Snure says will take three to four years to complete at an estimated cost of $1 million.
"It gives you an alternate access when the trains are blocking the crossing at 26th Street, it provides the fire department with an access along 18th … and it allows the residents in the area to also access 18th Street from other than just Rosser Avenue," said Snure, general manager of development services.
City council approved the Pacific Avenue bylaw last week, which also dealt with opening up the land as a public right-of-way.
"Unfortunately when the first phase (of Alaska Bay) went in, there was some interference that prevented me from requiring them to build Alaska Bay as a public roadway," Snure said at a recent city council meeting. "It went in as a private roadway on our land, so we’re making the corrections now to past errors."
In an interview with the Brandon Sun on Tuesday, Snure said the mistake was made at the time because "the feeling was Pacific Avenue wasn’t required" and Alaska Bay was allowed to go in privately.
"But now since there has been a number of changes, with the fire hall and the North Hill, the increased rail traffic and the increased density in the Alaska Bay area, Pacific Avenue is warranted," Snure said.
The new road will be constructed between Alaska Bay and the railway tracks. It will span eight blocks, or roughly a half-mile.
Snure said the city plans to construct a boulevard between Alaska Bay and Pacific Avenue, to include a sidewalk and landscaping.
Two blocks between 26th and 24th streets are slated for construction next year, with 24th to 22nd streets to be completed in 2015. A small sliver of property, only spanning about six feet, was found to be owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. The city approached BNSF with the intent to purchase the land, but was unsuccessful in acquiring the property for a reasonable amount. Therefore, the road plan has been amended to exclude the sliver of land.
"It’s just a little sliver that somehow over the years, back in the early 1900s or whenever, that little piece of lot was forgotten and not properly described," he said. "It’s just too costly to go through the process of review and all that kind of stuff, so we’ll just leave it out of our plan."
Snure said this will not have any effect on the construction of Pacific Avenue.
At the northeast corner of Alaska Bay, there are plans to build an access to Pacific Avenue.
Coun. Jeff Harwood (University) said the road will be a "welcome addition" to the city.
"The connection can also serve as a secondary access to the west end for fire and emergency services," Harwood said at a recent city council meeting. "With this access there is also the opportunity around for development to occur in the vacant parcel south of the proposed connection."
Alaska Bay resident Gilson Kasereka was also pleased with the news of the city’s plans to extend Pacific Avenue.
"That will be a good idea," he said. "Another way of connecting to 18th Street… The trains here sometimes cause a lot of havoc."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 28, 2013