One of Brandon’s busiest intersections will get a major overhaul this summer, resulting in a safer area for pedestrians and motorists alike, according to Manitoba Infrastructure.
As Brandon continues to grow, more pressure is being put on the intersection of Victoria Avenue and 34th Street, which has prompted the improvements.
Manitoba Infrastructure officials presented the proposed plan to city council earlier this week. The biggest issue identified are the left-turn lanes.
"The existing intersection is substandard, it’s very narrow. Anytime you’re making a left turn off of 34th Street onto Victoria, you can’t see what’s happening the other way, it’s way too tight," said MI regional director Herb Mahood.
There is a small island on the southeast corner of the intersection, which means a pedestrian can have traffic going by on all three sides.
"You can imagine what it’s like if you’re there with a stroller, or you have a mobility device," said Denise Jubenvill, technical services engineer with MI. "It doesn’t really provide you that feeling of safety."
A traffic count, conducted in 2013, found that roughly 11,000 vehicles travel through the intersection on Victoria Avenue per day, with a similar number on 34th Street.
There are a number of improvements planned, including the creation of slot left-turn lanes on Victoria. This type of lane can also be found at First Street and Kirkcaldy Drive.
On both the south and north sides of the intersection, there will be a left-turn bay.
"We’re going to move them so they’re offset from each other, so when you are sitting there and want to make a left turn, you can see the oncoming traffic," Jubenvill said.
A left-turn bay will be added south of the intersection, on the southbound lane of 34th Street, for vehicles turning into Sunset Square. There will also be one north of the intersection, for vehicles turning left into WestVic Common.
The island will be removed, to ensure vehicles come to a complete stop. There will be countdown timers installed for pedestrians as well. The plan also proposes a new intersection at Victoria Avenue and 36th Street. A four-lane divided road will continue to 38th Street.
Coun. Barry Cullen (Victoria) said he is pleased to see the project moving forward, as he sees the safety concerns first-hand.
"It’s an extremely busy intersection," he said. "It’s nice to see that we’re going to have proper turning lanes, and the whole area is … going to be more pedestrian-friendly."
The project will go to tender by the end of this month, with a goal of having a contractor in place to start the project in early July. It will be cost-shared 50/50 by the city and province. A provincial spokesperson said an estimated cost will not be determined until after the tender is awarded. The goal is to have the project completed by the fall.
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