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Jim Rhodes’ $4.9 million 10th Avenue crossing idea added to ballot question

$4.9 million crossing replaces the $14.6 million one on the Nov. 15 election ballot.

A question on whether or not Port Alberni residents want a low level $4.9 million 10th Avenue crossing will replace the original question on the $14.6 million crossing. The question will read:

“Would you be in favour of a 10th Avenue crossing for the north end of 10th Avenue to the  junction of Cherry Creek Road and Johnston Road for a bonded cost of $4.94 million?”

The proposal, which was presented by Jim Rhodes to city council at the Tuesday, Oct. 14 meeting, outlines a less expensive option for a bridge across Roger Creek that Rhodes’ said could be completed by local contractors.

Rhodes, who is a retired road and logging engineer, believes that the city’s current high level $14.6 million 10th Avenue crossing proposal is far in excess of what the city should be spending.

A cost estimate completed by Bill Coates of Roc-Star Enterprises Ltd. breaks down the cost of Rhodes’ crossing:

• construction earth works – $1.35 million

• bridge construction – $1.45 million

• paving curb sidewalks – $900,000

• 20 per cent set aside for contingencies – $740,000

• engineering – $500,000

Rhodes’ crossing (details here) includes a 30.5 m two-lane bridge with sidewalks on both sides and a 1.2 km paved roadway with a non-mountable curb, gutter and sidewalks. Rhodes’ has also said that there will be space for bike lanes on his route.

As Rhodes’ proposal is 34 per cent of cost of the proposed $14.6 million crossing, the cost per year to homeowners will be $54 per year instead of the $160 increase that the current proposal would mean.

According to Rhodes’ calculations, this $54 tax increase would be offset by the shorter distance of the new route. The route he is proposing is 0.7 km shorter each way, or 1.4 kms per round trip. At a standard 55 cent driving cost per kilometre (as per an average government car allowance), travelers would save 77 cents per round trip; 70 round trips per year, or 1.3 per week, would cancel out the $54 increase in residential taxes.

Rhodes said that preliminary talks with Fisheries and Oceans Canada “revealed that they would have no objection to this crossing as long as it did not impact any fish habitat.” As the bridge would be accessible from both sides and therefore would not require any temporary crossing structure, it would not affect any fish habitats.

Rhodes did acknowledge that waterlines and a light pole at the north end of the route at Cherry Creek Road would need to be moved. An enclosed storm drain and a city water main within the Roger Creek ravine would also need to be adjusted or rerouted.

While city engineer Guy Cicon said that the waterlines, light pole and storm drain would be fairly easy to move, the city water main may be more complicated and expensive to move.

“The water trunk main under Roger Creek is a large diameter, high pressure main that would be more difficult and expensive to relocate,” said Cicon, but added that it would not be impossible should that crossing be chosen in the future.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

twitter.com/AlberniNews

 

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