News

Fitzgerald bike lanes postponed until spring

The weather has put a spoke in the wheel of planned Fitzgerald Avenue road improvements, which have been delayed until spring.

The project — which includes bicycle lanes on either side of Fitzgerald, new signage and improved sightlines from Eight to 21st streets — was scheduled to be completed in late November after Courtenay City Council gave the go-ahead.

“In order complete the work we need a prolonged period of drier, warmer weather than what we’ve been experiencing,” said Lesley Hatch, the City’s senior manager of engineering. “We are anxious to complete this project, but to ensure it is successful we need to wait for the appropriate conditions.”

It is possible to heat and dry the asphalt in order to apply pavement markings, but this would be time-consuming and costly. As the lines on Fitzgerald will be going down on old pavement, it is crucial that necessary conditions are in place to ensure the lines adhere properly.

“With Fitzgerald, we’re dealing with existing pavement,” said Hatch. “It’s cold, it’s wet, and if fine dust and dirt particles are embedded in the rough pavement, the paint won’t stick.”

Staff has applied to the Cycling Infrastructure Partnership Program (CIPP) for an extension of grant funding to support project construction. CIPP could provide up to 50 per cent of eligible costs on the $60,000 project.

The delay could potentially lower costs in other ways. Spring painting will reduce the potential for cost overruns due to bad weather. Also, there may be additional funding available from ICBC’s Road Safety Department to help further offset costs.

“Delaying construction should yield a higher quality result, as the paint will go down on warm, dry pavement,” said Hatch. “With the potential for additional ICBC funding, it makes sense to wait until the conditions are right.

“We’ll get this project underway as soon as possible in the spring, which should also coincide with an increase in cyclists on our roads.”

The City would like to thank residents for their input and support.

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