© Google maps image
The North River area of Charlottetown, including the causeway
The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has gone out to tender for a roundabout at the intersection of Route 1 and Upton Road.
The project will cost the provincial government approximately $1.3 million and work should be completed by the time Old Home Week rolls around.
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Robert Vessey says the move was made to take the pressure off traffic congestion at the intersection.
“There’s a backup 700 metres long or more at peak times up the Upton Road because they can’t get in and that has caused concerns among the engineers here,’’ Vessey said Wednesday. “It was thought it was time to improve the flow so the roundabout will go in there.’’
When completed, it will be the sixth roundabout in the capital area in less than four years.
The City of Charlottetown opened its first two modern roundabout intersections in 2010 — Allen Street and Mount Edward Road in late June and Belvedere Avenue at UPEI/Farmers’ Market entrances in August. These intersection treatments were selected for the site-specific traffic and grade conditions to move traffic both during peak flows as well as off-peak times 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The province, city and Charlottetown Airport then pooled their resources to create a roundabout at the intersection of Brackley Point Road, Sherwood Road and the entrance to the airport.
The province quickly joined the party and got into the roundabout business, creating two on Riverside Drive in the fall of 2010 as part of improvements to the provincial highway system.
“It’s probably going to take us five to six weeks to do it. It’s a growing community in that area and traffic is only going to increase.’’
Vessey said the new roundabout will be a single-lane version but will be large enough to expand to two lanes down the road.
Roundabouts reportedly reduce injury collisions by 75 per cent and fatal collisions by 90 per cent. They are also supposed to increase efficient traffic flow up to 50 per cent.
“Terrible intersection,’’ one person told The Guardian on Twitter. “A friend of mine T-boned an ambulance there once.’’
Vessey says all roundabouts in the province have proved successful.
“Some people when they first came out questioned them but they do move traffic,’’ the minister said.
There has been talk over the years about extending the Charlottetown bypass highway but Vessey said the current government has no plans to pursue that anytime soon.