Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

CONSTRUCTION SCENE – Work near the Alaska Highway-North Klondike Highway intersection is seen this morning. Blasting is taking place as well.

Major Alaska Highway corner being rebuilt

Construction work to improve traffic flow and user safety has started at the Alaska Highway and North Klondike Highway intersection in Whitehorse.

By Whitehorse Star on June 29, 2020

Construction work to improve traffic flow and user safety has started at the Alaska Highway and North Klondike Highway intersection in Whitehorse.

The work had originally been scheduled for the summer of 2019. It includes widening of the highway with turning lanes off the Alaska Highway and through-traffic lanes, as well as safety upgrades to the road infrastructure.

Turning lanes will be installed onto the North Klondike intersection, which the government said Friday will improve road user safety.

The Cousins rest stop – which was relocated from the other side of the Alaska Highway many years ago – will also be upgraded for safer access to the highway.

Traffic will be moving at a reduced speed through the construction zone.

The construction contract was awarded this month to local company P.S. Sidhu Trucking Ltd.

“The Alaska Highway is critical to the Yukon’s transportation network,” said Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn.

“This work will make the highway safer for all users and continues the important investments we are making in our territory’s infrastructure.”

Construction will be underway from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily until Sept. 30.

The Cousins rest stop will stay closed until that date.

The North Klondike Highway approach to the intersection was repaved during the summer of 2016.

The current work began exactly three years after a tanker carrying 16,800 litres of jet fuel rolled over while it was turning right onto the Mayo Road from the Alaska Highway.

A total of 3,403 litres of fuel was spilled, and the driver sustained minor injuries.

The accident saw the closures of both highways at the intersection throughout much of the day, preventing any traffic flow.

Scores of tourists’ vehicles were stranded for hours, lined up along both highways waiting to pass the accident site, and some people couldn’t get to their places of employment in Whitehorse that day.

The company that owned the truck pled guilty to four contraventions of regulations under the National Safety Code, Motor Vehicle Act and Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act.

The company received fines totalling $1,265, including victim surcharge fees.

The tanker had been headed toward Mayo when the brakes locked.

Comments (18)

Up 1 Down 10

One One-Lesser-Voice on Jul 4, 2020 at 5:32 pm

Generally an extravagant over designed waste of government money.
I wish the Yukon government and City would start planning things a little better. We have what 30,000 people in Whitehorse and are designing roads like they will service a population base of 200,000.

Up 10 Down 11

Wilf Carter on Jul 3, 2020 at 12:27 am

People of Yukon look at accident records on this piece of highway over the last 20 years because it is not up to the safety standards. Ask someone who has been hurt on this piece of highway and see what they say because I have talked to a number of them over the years. It is not a safe piece of highway and has not been for a long time.
Traffic levels have increased every year and will continue because COW is growing.
Cut the politics out of it by COW politicians and NDP party members and get on with it. What the City needs to do is come up with a plan on the flow of people in the city entering this new highway system to meet future needs of the COW.

Up 28 Down 10

BV on Jul 2, 2020 at 4:18 pm

My family has been here since the gold rush but I get pretty tired of the old refrain of so called 'Yukoners' who think progress is a bad thing.
You don't wait until you NEED a better highway you upgrade it BEFORE that need.

Traffic (COVID aside) is increasing on the highway not just local traffic but heavy equipment for mining, logging and exploration not just in the Yukon but in Alaska. We need the heaviest used section of the Alaska Highway (Carcross cutoff to Mayo Road) to be safe and efficiently move traffic along. That means twinning the road on that stretch and limiting access with feeder/service roads.

For reference, the 401 was built north of Toronto as a bypass. In a few decades the city over ran that to the point where the 401 now plows right through massive residential and commercial areas. So they built a NEW bypass, the 407 even further North.

Can you imagine Vancouver's Granville or Oak street were still single lane horse paths? Probably your loom-smashing Luddite forefathers complained about that and now you complain that there are traffic jams there when you visit the city and 2 lanes in each direction isn't enough..

So yes, we need that stretch of road twinned and eventually divided.

Up 22 Down 22

Politico on Jul 2, 2020 at 1:58 pm

@Snowman Amazing how you can draw the wrong conclusions from thin air. I drive a van and a motorcycle, I don't drive a bicycle. I have driven the freeway through Seattle, the Chicago Skyway and loop around St Louis. That's why I laugh at the drivers in the Yukon complaining about the traffic here, we don't have any. This freeway we're paying for is nothing more than pandering to people who can't drive.

Up 18 Down 6

Brad on Jul 1, 2020 at 9:10 pm

Will all the squatter, eyesore stuff that has gathered over the years around the intersection be finally cleaned up? Yueeck!

Up 33 Down 8

Groucho d.North on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:24 am

@ Matthew
For comparison purposes, at around the same time as the Pacsetter spill, goldminer and part-time TV celebrity Tony Beets of Dawson was fined $31,000 for failing to stop a worker from pouring a few litres of gasoline on a fully-contained dredge pond and setting it on fire for a dramatic effect the Discovery Channel producers could film. Justice is arbitrary.

Up 33 Down 7

Groucho d.North on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:15 am

I do support Al's comments about poor driving habits at the intersection of the Highways #1 & #2, and as a resident on the Mayo Rd. I often see vehicles coming down the hill towards the intersection that are driving way past the posted speed limit. And those going in the opposite direction who do not indicate they are turning on to #2, both of these situations have a negative impact on trafffic flow and driver frustration.
All that said, it is nothing compared to the drivers coming off the Hotsprings Rd who may slow down rather than stop at that intersection. The sightlines need to be fixed there and get that STOP sign off the power pole and out to where you can see up the highway for oncoming traffic while stopped. Enforcement is required more than once a year or two at all times of the year.

Up 21 Down 6

Driver on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:09 am

Al, just to play a bit of a devil's advocate here, I have been driving in Whitehorse for some time and one of the things I find quite frustrating as I try to enter a intersection to major roadways are drivers that are breaking the speed limit or speed up when they see someone trying to enter the roadway. I estimate the amount of room I need to intersect traffic, if someone is speeding or speeding up, that is on them.

Up 26 Down 4

Snowman on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:16 pm

@Politico You've never seen a real "super freeway" have you? How will the Mayo road intersection now be considered a super freeway? I'm guessing you are one of those people who would rather have a bike trail and a dirt road.

Up 15 Down 0

Greasy Tex on Jun 30, 2020 at 10:38 pm

That piece by Ray's needs widening worse. No traffic study needed.

Up 34 Down 4

Spot on Al on Jun 30, 2020 at 5:29 pm

Just came here to say exactly what Al has already said - thanks Al!
I've lived west on the Alaska Highway for almost 15 years and cannot count the number of times (literally hundreds or thousands) I've been cut off as I come down the hill toward town - many drivers from the Mayo Rd consistently ignore the very large stop sign. Very dangerous.

Also, when you're heading out of town, many of those turning onto the Alaska Highway from the Mayo Rd assume that everyone will turn right onto the Mayo Rd, meaning that I've had some close calls and nearly t-boned drivers who turn in front of me as I continue up the Alaska Highway.

I am extremely grateful to see this project happening

Up 40 Down 4

woodcutter on Jun 30, 2020 at 4:59 pm

Thank you for addressing this very dangerous intersection. I can not count how many times I crested the hill, as I was coming from the woodlot, and proceeding down that steep hill, only to have some yoyo turn left from the Mayo road, while I was driving 90km, onto the Alaska highway. It's so very surprising how many folks don't understand what a loaded truck needs to do to slow down enough to not run straight up their a#@.

Thank you, it's great to see our tax dollars being put to good use.

Up 57 Down 11

Al on Jun 30, 2020 at 3:29 pm

Interesting comments from the folks who live on the Mayo Road or off of it.

We happen to live north west of town and the Mayo cut-off for us and our neighbours is nothing short of atrocious. Why? The number of drivers who have run the stop sign or think they can beat the highway traffic on the AH is unbelievable. In the 40 years we have traversed the highway this section is a death trap. The number of times we have had to swerve, or run the shoulder, to avoid drivers happens with regular routine - virtually every day.

I do agree that this construction is extravagant; but it is thanks to careless drivers making their way onto the AH. The one way to avoid all these additional costs is simple: put up cameras and fine people for careless driving and going through the stop sign.

I am sure that the ones who dislike my comments are the very drivers I speak of.

Up 49 Down 4

Dave on Jun 30, 2020 at 6:21 am

$1,265 in total fines to Pacesetter Petroleum for causing that complete cluster back in 2017. They sure got hit hard didn’t they? Those fines surely must have wiped out the petty cash fund.

Up 53 Down 4

Matthew on Jun 29, 2020 at 10:21 pm

So.. over 3000L of fuel were spilled and their fine was a measly $1200!? It most likely cost 10x that to clean up the mess! Not to mention lost wages and time at work for dozens of people. Seems reasonable doesnt it.. LOL!

Up 33 Down 38

drum on Jun 29, 2020 at 8:21 pm

The traffic flow and safety is just fine. I have lived in this area since 1994 - it is just a make spend money project and it will make our lives miserable for the whole summer.

Up 40 Down 36

drum on Jun 29, 2020 at 6:05 pm

Everything was fine - we do not need it. I live on the Mayo Road so I know.

Up 20 Down 37

Politico on Jun 29, 2020 at 4:24 pm

In other words the construction of the super freeway through Whitehorse continues it's just that no one wants to call it that. All in the name of safety of course!

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