Government plans Whitehorse highway upgrades

The Yukon government is seeking public feedback on a $200-million plan to widen the Alaska Highway to four lanes from Macrae to Crestview.

The Yukon government is seeking public feedback on a $200-million plan to widen the Alaska Highway to four lanes from Macrae to Crestview.

The plan, prepared by consultants CH2M HILL, would also see passing lanes and intersection improvements from just south of the Carcross cutoff to just north of the North Klondike Highway turnoff.

“The study arose out of increasing concerns with traffic congestion and traffic safety on this section of the Alaska Highway, within the Whitehorse municipal boundaries,” said Mike Howes, project manager with CH2M HILL, at a media briefing on Monday morning.

Those issues “are only expected to get worse as population continues to grow,” he said.

In addition, property owners with direct highway access can expect a change. The government is planning to add frontage roads that residents would share with their neighbours to get to a single access point to the highway.

Although some properties will be directly affected by these additions, the majority of the work will be done within the existing highway right-of-way, said Howes.

The consultants have recommended that the section of highway between Robert Service Way and just before Kopper King be upgraded immediately, at an estimated cost of $52 million.

That work would see widening to four lanes, intersection improvements, and a paved multi-use trail along the corridor.

“Based on our analysis those areas are not meeting the current requirements for the corridor,” said Howes. “They’re not meeting the level of service that we established as the desired design criteria for the corridor.”

Construction on that section of the highway could begin as early as 2016, and might take five years to complete.

The second priority would be to upgrade the highway from Kopper King to Crestview, at an estimated cost of $50 million.

The timing of that work is dependent on Whitehorse’s population growth, and the consultants recommended that the upgrades be complete before the city hits 35,000 residents.

The long-term vision would see further improvements from Golden Horn to Robert Service Way to the south, as well as from Crestview to the City of Whitehorse boundary to the north. That work will cost an estimated

$100 million and should be done by the time Whitehorse’s population hits 47,000, according to the plan.

A summary of the plan and a survey has been mailed out to Yukon residences and businesses.

More information is available at www.placespeak.com/whitehorsecorridor, including detailed maps and simulated fly-over videos of the planned improvements.

Yukoners can also 1-866-692-4484 or email whitehorsecorridorinfo@ch2m.com with questions or feedback.

Public open houses will be scheduled for the week of April 20. The deadline to provide feedback on the plan is May 15.

Jacqueline Ronson at jronson@yukon-news.com

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