As the City of Whitehorse advises residents the traffic lights at Lewes Boulevard and Alsek Road/Selkirk Street will be temporarily removed Aug. 24, the Yukon Party Opposition is pointing out the work should have been finished much earlier.
In an Aug. 23 statement, the city said the Yukon government’s project to install a new storm water drainage system and upgrade pavement, sidewalks and traffic lights at the Riverdale intersection will see the removal of the current traffic lights on Aug. 24 with temporary detours in place.
Pedestrians are being asked to use the crosswalk with flashing lights 150 metres north on Lewes Boulevard instead of the crossing at Alsek.
The work is anticipated to continue until Sept. 24 depending on weather.
As the Yukon Party pointed out in a statement though, according to documents available through the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board website, the project was originally scheduled to be finished in 2021 with “minimal disruption to traffic.
“However, work on the project is not complete as we enter the 2022 – 2023 school year.”
School began Aug. 22 with families at Selkirk Elementary School informed the crosswalk, used by many who attend the school, is closed. They were advised to instead use the crosswalk 150 m north. After accessing that crosswalk, they can walk along the paved trail to access Alsek Road.
“With peak Riverdale traffic occurring as students head to school in the morning, the situation will quickly become an accident waiting to happen,” the Yukon Party statement reads. “The Yukon Party Official Opposition is wondering why this project at the bottleneck of a major Whitehorse subdivision, in an area with two high schools and an elementary school is not yet complete.”
Along with Selkirk, F.H. Collins and the CSSC Mercier secondary schools are also along Lewes Boulevard in the same area. Grey Mountain Primary School, Christ the King Elementary School and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Secondary School are also in the Riverdale neighbourhood along with a number of other sites used by students including the Teen Parent Centre and Gadzoosdaa Student Residence, both near Selkirk Elementary and F.H. Collins Secondary schools.
There’s also a number of daycares and children’s programs in the neighbourhood. Lewes Boulevard is the road in and out of Riverdale with hundreds of vehicles commuting through the intersection every day.
The Yukon Party went on to question what the Liberal government did to avoid the current situation, whether those living in Riverdale were informed about the scope of the project, and when the Selkirk school council was made aware of the changes for students to get to and from school.
“This is yet another case of the Liberals’ mismanaging an infrastructure project and not doing the due diligence to ensure the work was completed with minimal disruption to Yukoners,” the Yukon Party stated.
The city is advising residents to travel with care, reduce speed, and follow traffic controllers and construction signage.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org