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This could be the year the City of Charlottetown finally moves ahead on the proposed Belvedere roundabout.
Council recently passed its capital budget, and the document indicates the city has set aside $75,000 for engineering and testing work at the intersection that connects three major streets — Belvedere Avenue, Brackley Point Road and St. Peters Road.
“(The work would involve) testing of the substance of the soil and the composition of the soil – what it would take and need – and testing for contaminants and things,’’ said Coun. Mike Duffy, chairman of the public works department.
Soil testing is scheduled to take place on Monday which could result in possible traffic delays. The work is expected to be completed by mid-afternoon.
The city has promised a roundabout at this major intersection for years, but it’s been hard to get off the ground.
“The only thing that’s holding us back is funding,’’ Duffy said.
“If there was, politically, an atmosphere that would encourage this to be the year that we get this important roundabout going, this would be it. I would say this is the most optimistic we’ve been.’’
-Coun. Mike Duffy
It will cost about $5.5 million to transform the large intersection into a roundabout, a project that will be shared by all three levels of government.
The city has its share — about $1.8 million — ready to go but is waiting on the provincial and federal governments to write their cheques.
The city also has three of the four pieces of land it needs to proceed. And, it has $250,000 set aside in the capital budget for land acquisition.
As it stands now, there is no federal government infrastructure program that would fund the roundabout project. The city has been waiting for a while for the feds to introduce a new one.
After saying this project would get going before, only to see nothing happen, Duffy said if there were ever a time to be optimistic it would be this year. There is widely expected to be two elections this year, with the province likely going to the polls this spring and the feds this fall.
“If there was, politically, an atmosphere that would encourage this to be the year that we get this important roundabout going, this would be it,’’ he said. “I would say this is the most optimistic we’ve been.’’
Earlier this year, Mayor Philip Brown said he was tired of seeing the roundabout promised in municipal election after municipal election over the past decade. It’s time for action, he said.
“This is the number one priority for the City of Charlottetown’s public works (department) for this coming fiscal year. Anyone who has gone through that intersection knows how confusing it is, which leads to danger, so it’s our number one priority.’’