Mayor Phil Germuth with Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone at an event in Kitimat July 27.

Mayor Phil Germuth with Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone at an event in Kitimat July 27.

Upgrades to Kitimat intersection coming, and talk of other improvements

As province kicks in road upgrade money, minister of transportation says they're aware of Haisla Bridge "choke point" in Kitimat.

The provincial government is spending $200,000 for intersection improvements at Haisla Boulevard and Kitamaat Village Road.

That intersection is effectively the spot where Highway 37S ends and Haisla Boulevard, the municipally maintained section of road, begins.

The spending is part of the B.C. government’s 10 year transportation plan, which includes $30 million for intersection safety improvements over three years.

Minister of Transportation Todd Stone, in town for the announcement, said the improvements will include better sightlines and he also mentioned a traffic island, however there were no visuals available to how the intersection would look.

The work will be done quickly though, anticipated to be completed before the construction season ends this year, and work will begin in August or September, he says.

“It’s one of a number of intersections we are intent on improving in this corridor,” said Stone at the event July 27.

Mayor Phil Germuth said he’s looking forward to other work such as the intersection at Cable Car and the highway and at the landfill.

Stone said that the two additional intersections will be contenders for the next two years of the three-year intersection improvement plan.

Other transportation issues weren’t lost on the minister, but said work is ongoing for those issues.

Those issues being looking at Haisla Bridge as an aging but critical bit of local infrastructure, and development of the West Side Road.

“There is a corridor analysis underway in terms of the west side road, and that is coming along. There’s still a bit more work to finish that off,” said Stone. “We’re well aware of the situation with the Haisla Bridge and absolutely agree that it will be a critical choke point that will need to be addressed, particularly once final investment decisions are reached with some of the LNG projects that anticipate being built here.”

Stone noted increased funding in the BC On the Move plan which provides resources for bridges and secondary highways.

“Haisla Bridge will be a good candidate, potentially, for consideration,” he said of that program.

He added that the province would likely look to the federal government for support on funding Haisla Bridge.

“We’re having discussions with the municipality and the federal government, and potentially proponents as well that will benefit from that bridge being upgraded.