A gas station and convenience store are planned for the empty lot at 3 Roundel Road in Whitehorse. The Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board (YESAB) has recommended a crosswalk and traffic lights be installed at the Alaska Highway intersection within three years. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

YESAB report urges traffic lights at Alaska Highway intersection

Lower speed limits suggested ahead of new gas station construction

A crosswalk and a traffic light within three years. That’s one of the recommendations made by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) regarding a cardlock and convenience store soon to be located in Hillcrest.

North 60 Petro plans to begin work in the summer of 2019 on a gas station, cardlock and convenience store. Located at 3 Roundel Rd., the site will include an RV sani dump and propane fill, as well as 14 canopies for gas pumps and a 3,600 square foot building.

Shaunagh Stikeman, president of the Hillcrest Community Association, said the HCA is “really happy” with the report, completed June 27.

She said the HCA has been asking for years for a safe crossing over the Alaska Highway, as there have been a number of accidents and near-misses in recent years.

“We very much welcome the recommendation of YESAB and we urge the Yukon government to accept this recommendation and get to work as soon as possible on creating a safe highway crossing,” she said.

Citing YESAB’s suggestion that the speed limit be reduced on the highway, she called the corridor “quite bizarre” in terms of the way the speed limit changes at different points. She said she agrees that a speed limit reduction would cause less confusion for drivers.

Stikeman said she has, in the past, met with Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn about the issue. She said she was told it wasn’t likely something YG would look at for another four to five years.

“We’re well aware of the pressure for a traffic signal on this segment of the Alaska Highway,” Mostyn told the News on July 4.

He said the stretch of highway is complicated by being bounded by the airport and the Hillcrest neighbourhood. The new Toyota dealership building and the cardlock will only add to the action.

“Safety is an issue for us,” he said. “(The highway’s) immediate safety issues have to be addressed and they will. The issue is the longer-term, the bigger vision of this highway.”

Mostyn said the highway is a major system for movement of goods and traffic, and YG is first looking at other high-priority sections of the highway. That includes the South Access and Two Mile Hill. Both of those locations, he said, have also been the site of accidents.

Mostyn said YG isn’t against the idea of traffic lights for Hillcrest, but said it’s not a trivial undertaking, and it’s not currently in the budget.

“If that’s needed, we will move on that,” he said. “(The report) will inform our actions going forward.”

The report, which can be found on YESAB’s website, includes feedback from the HCA, as well as from YG, the Yukon Astronomical Society, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and individual members of the public.

A final decision should made on the project within 30 days of the report’s completion.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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