It began with a dialogue on the Livingstone Range School Division’s policy of only offering school bus service to students who live outside a 2.4-kilometer radius from school.
Councillor Marlene Anctil said she’s seen many students walking to Crowsnest Consolidated High School (CCHS), being passed by half empty school busses.
“I know it’s a high school but the kids in Grade 7 are only 12 years old. It’s not like they’re 18,” said Councillor Marlene Anctil.
It was noted that council does not have the authority to put up signs or crosswalks on Highway 3 for the benefit of walking students.
Council passed a motion to send a letter to the Livingstone Range School Division outlining the danger zones students pass through on their way to school and to request that bussing services be expanded.
“I think the bureaucracy at the Department of Transportation has become totally irresponsible to the people who live around their highway,” said Councillor Bill Kovach. “Coaldale is a prime example, there’s been dozens of people killed there and all they’ve done is put up a sign.”
Mayor Blair Painter and two members of council will be meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Transportation while attending an AUMA conference in Edmonton this week, said CAO Sheldon Steinke.
In addition to talking about crosswalks, they’ll also be discussing the long-term redesign of Highway 3, he said.
A bridge too busted
The bridge linking Hillcrest and Highway 3 is crumbling and presents a liability issue to the municipality, said Kovach.
Kovach related a recent incident where a man was trying to cross the structure but fell through a hole in the bridge top and got stuck.
“What’s the timeline on that bridge? It’s been like this for over a year. I can’t believe it takes that long to get the engineering done on a little bridge. We’re not crossing the Columbia River,” he added.
Patrick Thomas, director of Planning, Engineering and Operations said the design for a new bridge is undergoing a final review and that a construction tender will be issued.
Thomas said contractors would then need two to four weeks to assess the job and that construction on the bridge should be started by the end of October.
Council passed a motion to fill the hole in the current bridge to protect the municipality from liability issues and to protect local children.
“If somebody wouldn’t have seen that guy’s head sticking out he’d have had a hell of a time getting out of there,” said Kovach of the recent incident. “But if a kid fell in, maybe nobody would have seen him.”
Eighty-five thousand for road assessment
Council approved spending $85,000 on a road admission assessment program.
ISL Engineering will be conducting the assessment.
Though not a budgeted item, the assessment will be paid for using provincial grants, said Thomas.
The assessment will examine 171 kilometers of municipal roadways, 109 of them paved and 68 gravel, using sonar instruments to test for structural integrity.
Assessors will also complete a visual assessment and issue the road a cumulative score.
Summer traffic statistics
According to the Crowsnest Pass Enforcement Services Traffic Report, Highway 3 was a busy thoroughfare this summer.
Traffic data collected on Highway 3 from July 18 to Sept. 1, 2014 shows that almost 150,000 vehicles passed through the Pass this summer; about 80,000 were westbound while 70,000 were eastbound.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the heaviest traffic occurred on weekends.
According to the survey the busiest weekend was from Aug. 1 to Aug. 4, where a total of 25,928 vehicles were counted.
However, the traffic counting system was only capable of targeting one direction of travel at a time so the vehicles coming, in what was assumed to be the heaviest traffic flow, were counted, said the report.
The data was collected electronically by laying a cable across the highway and counting the number of times it was struck, said CAO Sheldon Steinke.
A mathematical formula and a visual counter assessing the kinds of vehicles using the highway were used to estimate the number of vehicles using the road.
Steinke said these statistics will also be included in the package being presented to officials from the Ministry of Transportation this week.
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