(This is part three of a TRUCK TALK series exploring different options for an industrial truck route through or around Port Alberni. Read the intro here, part two here, part three here and part four here.)
Harbour Road: from Redford Street, down the existing road to a new intersection with Ship Creek Road at Third Ave.
A waterfront industrial road is back in the cards for Port Alberni, according to Mayor Mike Ruttan.
“We’ve acquired most of the land for that. A big part of it’s already built. It just needs some upgrades but it’s doable for us financially,” Ruttan said.
“We want to see something happen and if we control the entire thing we’ll do that part first.”
Ruttan is such a strong proponent of a waterfront industrial route that it was added to the city’s 2015-2018 Strategic Plan as of Oct. 13.
“There’s been a lot of work and a lot of time and a lot of money spent by the city over the last number of decades; we decided that it’s a really critical issue for the community in terms of looking forward economically,” Ruttan said.
“This council is wanting to bring that forth for consideration and see what we can do to complete that project that is already partially completed.”
Partially is right: the city has commissioned two studies on a waterfront road.
One was a pre-design study in 2004, the other was preliminary design report in 2013. Both were completed by Stantec; the 2013 study cost the city $45,000 (costs for the 2004 study were not available by press time.)
The 2004 study covered the entire proposed Harbour Road route from Ship Creek at its south end to Redford Street at the north end. The length? About 2.8 kilometres. The cost? Between $6.1M and $6.7M (in 2015 dollars) depending on the exact route alignment chosen.
The cheaper option will have the southern portions of the road limited to 40 km/hr. The more expensive one will allow speeds of 50 km/hr.
The 2013 study looks more closely at phase one of the proposed waterfront route—700 metres of two-lane road stretching from the Ship Creek/Third Avenue intersection to just west of Stirling Street on Harbour Road. The maximum grade will stay at 6.0 per cent while the lane widths will be 3.7 metres each.
The Ship Creek/Third Avenue intersection would undergo major changes in this option; the private entrance to Western Forest Products’ APD mill would be closed and the newly constructed Harbour Road connection would take its place—thus connecting Harbour Road to Ship Creek Road.
A connector road would allow access to WFP lands for their trucks and two parking lots would be constructed to make up for the WFP space lost in the construction of the new road.
The work is estimated to cost approximately $4 million.
The traffic flow at the time of the study was based on upwards of 120 trucks a day; a figure taken from 2004 reports from Weyerhaeuser and Norske.
No additional counts since 2004 have been performed by the city, though the 2012 study states that new counts should be performed before construction.
Further, the 2012 study states formalizing a truck route could redirect more trucks off of other roads (such as Third Avenue and Anderson Avenue) and onto Harbour Road.