Rockwell Drive is getting repaved but the District of Kent Council was hoping for more.
Council received a letter from Todd G. Stone, B.C.’s minister of transportation and infrastructure, informing them that a resurfacing project is planned for Rockwell Drive for 2015. The letter was written in response to a letter by Mayor John Van Laerhoven, requesting consideration for Rockwell Drive upgrades in regards to conditions, maintenance and safety.
“There are many sections that are in extremely poor condition with deteriorating road structure, crumbling shoulders, and drainage culverts in need of repair,” wrote Van Laerhoven. “The uneven surface, narrow lanes and tight corners represent significant hazards, increased liability with respect to motor vehicle accidents and pedestrian safety concerns with limited or no shoulders.”
Van Laerhoven also expressed concern that there is no emergency exit or alternative evacuation route for residents on Rockwell Drive. Van Laerhoven urged the ministry to make Rockwell Drive a high priority project.
The minister’s response said while they will do the paving, they don’t plan to widen the road right now.
“These types of improvements would require significant funding. While I appreciate you would like to see this work done, other regional projects must take priority at this time,” wrote Stone.
Stone also mentioned the emergency exit or alternate route, citing the potential improvement of an existing forest service road to provide an alternate route for the community being discussed with the District and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Emergency Management BC.
Councillors discussed the correspondence at their last regular Council meeting May 25.
“It’s great that the Ministry of Transportation will pave Rockwell Drive,” said Councillor Duane Post. “However, that’s probably going to increase the speed of traffic.”
Post says the increased speed of motorists will cause more safety concerns, especially for users such as cyclists.
“There needs to be a longer-term plan out there to make that road wider,” Post concluded.
Mayor Van Laerhoven agreed with Post, adding, “They’re spending a lot of money paving it, but the integrity of the road will last longer if they can divert traffic to routes designated for other longer, heavier traffic.”
Council decided to write a letter urging a longer-term plan to be drawn up for Rockwell Drive.