Protocol while waiting to cross the 5th Street Bridge during construction is causing some confusion. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Protocol while waiting to cross the 5th Street Bridge during construction is causing some confusion. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Courtenay council wants clarity around bridge protocol

Condition of 5th Street Bridge better than expected though project taking longer

Members of Courtenay council called for measures to help the flow of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers waiting during construction for the 5th Street Bridge project.

At the July 26 meeting, some mentioned they have been hearing of more confusion lately between bikes and vehicles in particular.

“Cyclists are being berated for not following the rules,” Coun. Melanie McCollum said, adding that some of the problems lie with drivers not waiting where they should during delays.

She suggested the city could consider better signs to clarify where people should be waiting depending on their mode of transportation.

Coun. Wendy Morin also brought up the need for better information.

“There’s nothing that tells pedestrians really what to do,” she said.

Coun. David Frisch wondered whether additional measures such as painting a “bike box” where cyclists could wait to cross might still be feasible this late in the project. He also suggested a pedestrian crosswalk for people to cross between the two sides of the road, but added he would leave the matter with staff to investigate.

Staff responded that they could discuss the matter with the contractor.

One sign causing some confusion of a different sort references funding for the project. Coun. Will Cole-Hamilton suggested the $2.94 million from the federal government that is cited suggests the city received more for the project.

He also said they should try to get another million dollars for the project to underscore the amount residents are covering.

“The people of Courtenay are paying a lot for this,” he said.

RELATED STORY: 5th Street bridge completion date delayed by one month

A staff report to council highlights a number of common concerns, including who is allowed to travel in priority lanes. Other issues include new line painting and speeding.

The City of Courtenay recently announced the project is slightly behind schedule. The plan now is to finish the work by mid-November rather than October as originally planned. The good news, according to staff, is the bridge is in better condition than expected.

The end date of the project will ultimately be determined by decking work in the fall, though at this point director of engineering service Chris Davidson could not predict whether the condition of the deck might accelerate the process toward an earlier completion.

The staff report estimates the work is five weeks behind schedule and the target date is now Nov. 19.

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