Single lane bridge with walkway proposed for White Gold 

The two-lane bridge at White Gold could soon go down to one lane if plans are approved to make the bridge more pedestrian and cyclist friendly.

At Monday’s council meeting Brian Barnett, general manager of engineering and public works, presented the plans to convert the bridge to a single-lane roadway.

This would allow the other half of the bridge to be used by pedestrians as an extension of the Valley Trail into White Gold.

The bridge could be modified for a little as $15,000 and bring significant safety improvements as vehicles slow down to yield to other vehicles crossing the bridge.

"The important thing I think, is that this is a pilot program so we can assess it and if there’s problems we can always make changes," said Barnett, after the meeting.

"If we have a pilot program running for a one year period then we’ll have fairly extensive consultation (and) surveys to find out the level of interest in a permanent one way system there."

Council directed municipal staff to investigate safety concerns in the White Gold area after a letter from a concerned resident.

That August letter requested staff to install speed bumps on both sides of the bridge.

Consultants were hired and came up with various transportation options. Among the suggestions were a stand-alone pedestrian bridge and the addition of a sidewalk to the edge of the existing bridge.

Both were costly.

Barnett still hadn’t decided what to do when he took a vacation in Hawaii and there he was struck with a new idea.

He was vacationing in a quiet, non-tourist area that had small residential communities and a number of creeks and rivers in the area.

"All the bridges in that area were single lane alternating traffic and they really provided a sense of traffic calming and a sense of place for the residential area," said Barnett.

"It was really quite appealing."

He imagined the same model could be used at the White Gold Bridge.

Barnett said vehicles would have ample room on the road to wait until the bridge is clear before proceeding.

"One direction doesn’t have priority over the other," said Barnett, adding that there will be yield signs on both sides of the bridge.

In addition to the bridge modifications municipal staff also looked at upgrades to the Valley Trail in that area.

Connecting the trail in that area and adding lighting will cost roughly $80,000.

Councillor Ken Melamed praised the idea for the one lane bridge. He added that the valley trail improvements were not part of the grand loop and the pedestrian improvements could be achieved by having a gravel walkway.

Mayor Hugh O’Reilly said it was best to put some of the options out to the community.

Residents in the community will be advised of the project and will have opportunity to provide feedback.


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