© TC MEDIA/Colin Maclean
Coun. Rob Green, left, and chairman Ron Rayner of the municipality of Bedeque and Area, look over design plans for a highway realignment through their community.
Route 1A, Dunk River Road, Callbeck Street one of two sections up for realignment
BEDEQUE – A stretch of Prince Edward Island highway that has proven deadly over the years is getting a facelift, much to the delight of local advocates.
The road in question is Route 1A going through Central Bedeque. The area is a busy transportation hub with an intersection, passing lane, residential driveways and a couple of turnoffs.
The provincial Department of Transportation released its plan to make the area safer during a meeting with residents earlier this week.
Speaking prior to the meeting, local resident Robert Campbell said he was mostly happy with the changes being proposed.
“I’m glad they’re doing something. I really think that Y has to go, it’s just too dangerous,” he said.
The Y he was referring to is the intersection of Route 10 (Searletown Road) and Route 1A. He lives on the opposite side of the highway to the turnoff.
His family members have witnessed about a half dozen serious crashes outside their home in the 20 years they’ve lived there, including the death of 67-year-old Kinkora resident Dorothy Mayhew, in the fall of 2015.
The plan presented to residents Tuesday night involves realigning that section from its current Y to a T intersection with dedicated turning lanes off the highway.
Campbell added that he had some relatively minor concerns involving the potential loss of his hedgerow and traffic lights shining directly into his home, but he’s willing to work with the province on those issues.
The second part of the highway realignment involves the intersections of Route 1A, Dunk River Road and Callbeck Street. This is a busy area for farm equipment and transport trucks in addition to regular traffic.
The local council, which represents the municipality of Bedeque and Area, has been pushing to have something done about the highway. Chairman Ron Rayner said Tuesday he’s pleased there is a plan, but he also has concerns he’s hoping will be addressed.
“If we don’t do it right now, it will be another 60 years before we get a crack at getting it done right,” said Rayner.
Ideally, he said, council would like to see a roundabout at the Route 1A, Dunk River Road and Callbeck Street intersection to force traffic to slow down; however, they’ve already been told by the province that such a proposal is not likely to happen.
Instead, the province intends to install a left turning lane onto Dunk River Road. There is already a left turning lane onto Callbeck Street. Additional streetlights and electric traffic speed indicators are also going to be installed.
The eastbound passing lane through the area is also being removed in an effort to slow traffic.
Stephen Yeo, chief engineer at the Department of Transportation, said the work has an estimated price tag of about $1.4 million and is scheduled to go to tender in April.
The final design could also change between now and then, he added, based on feedback from local residents.
“It’s never set in stone until the contractor is out digging. We’re always open for discussion,” said Yeo.