ACRD ponies up cash for ring road study

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District directors voted to spend $10,000 on a study examining the feasibility of a ring road through the Valley.

The concept of a ring road in and out of the Alberni Valley is taking form.

Directors of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District voted to spend $10,000 on a study that will examine the feasibility of a ring road through the Valley.

The money is being underwritten by an ACRD feasibility study fund and the work will be undertaken by the civil engineering consulting firm R.F. Binnie & Associates Ltd, ACRD chief administrative officer Russell Dyson said.

The request was made by the transportation committee of the Port Alberni Port Authority, on which the ACRD has a representative. The road would be ensconced in part of the Cherry Creek Electoral District.

The study is expected to commence shortly.

Specifically, the study will examine options for a truck route into Port Alberni. The committee proposed a ring road route starting at either the top or bottom of the hump, through Island Timberland’s property and linking up with Ship Creek Road.

Once completed the study will be shared with the ACRD, port authority and transportation committee.The study represents the first time the ACRD has examined a ring road concept, Dyson said. “We’ve participated in the Horne Lake study but I think this may be the first time we’ve looked at a ring road route,” he said.

The ring road study is different from the connector study that the PAPA also undertook, PAPA director Darren DeLuca said.

“Ring road would be from Highway 4 to Ship Creek Road, and the connector would be from Highway 4 to Highway 19,” he said.

The port authority released its final reports on a connector last Friday. The report outlines two options, both of which start at the Horne Lake intersection of Highway 19 and connect with Highway 4 near the Coombs Country Candy Store.

The first option would travel along the north side of Horne Lake, traverse over the hump at Lacey Lake and connect with Highway 4. The total cost of the project would be almost $50 million.

The second option would travel along the existing Horne Lake Road, turn south up the side of the hill to Mount Horne, then connect with the Lacey Lake route to Coombs Country Candy. The total cost of the second option is $63 million.

“Horne Lake north runs through Crown land, a right of way, there are geotechnical challenges not to mention cabin owners, so I don’t think this would be an option,” DeLuca said.

The second route doesn’t disturb cabin owners, already utilizes a road to the hump and is more cost effective, DeLuca said.

The next step is identifying the appropriate route and taking the proposal back to the Ministry of Transportation, DeLuca said.

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