Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING ANNOUNCED – Seen left to right at Friday’s press conference at the Yukon Transportation Museum are Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn; Bernadette Jordan, the federal Rural Economic Development minister; and Yukon MP Larry Bagnell.

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

ALTERATIONS COMING – Seen here are the planned changes to the south end of Range Road and the Alaska Highway as development in the area gathers momentum. Inset Paul Murch

Range Road-Alaska Highway area to change

As plans move forward for an extension to Range Road and other work along the Alaska Highway, the federal government has announced funding for the initiative.

By Stephanie Waddell on March 11, 2019

As plans move forward for an extension to Range Road and other work along the Alaska Highway, the federal government has announced funding for the initiative.

The announcement came during a press conference Friday at the Yukon Transportation Museum with Bernadette Jordan, the federal Rural Economic Development minister.

Jordan said Ottawa will put in $13.2 million for work planned for areas along the Alaska Highway in Whitehorse over the next two years.

The Yukon government is contributing $4.4 million to the work through its Small Communities Fund.

Specifically, this year’s efforts will see the planned 350-metre extension to the south side of Range Road to a new intersection with the highway. That will include traffic lights and the closure of the current intersection at Sumanik Drive. A new right-in, right-out access will be built.

Then in 2020, work will be done in the area of the Hillcrest neighbourhood, with consultation underway to plan for those improvements.

“These important projects will improve safety for the residents of Whitehorse and communities across Yukon who use the Alaska Highway,” Jordan said.

“Improved travel and transportation of goods across the region will benefit the local economy and improve the quality of life for residents in nearby communities.”

As it was highlighted by Jordan, Yukon MP Larry Bagnell and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn, the highway is extremely important.

It’s a major artery and a community road that gets a number of residents to work, home, school and such every day, the media were told.

“It ties us together,” Mostyn said. “So it’s vital to the territory.”

The estimated $4.4 million worth of work to Range Road comes in light of changes underway to the area.

“There’s the new city building, we’re getting commercial development along the highway,” Mostyn said.

“There’s talk of a quarry (see last Wednesday’s Star), so it’s really a dangerous, very constricted, heavily trafficked region.”

Whitehorse Toyota moved to its Range Road location from downtown last year, and the city’s operations building is currently under construction.

A trail will be built to connect the southern end of Range Road with the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport and Black Street trail.

Meanwhile, the Hillcrest work will see improvements to both lanes and the addition of trails that will connect with established pathways.

A public meeting will be held in May to get input on the Hillcrest plan.

Stressing the importance of the work during a technical briefing held Friday was Paul Murchison, the territory’s director of transportation engineering.

Murchison showcased a map of the area complete with toy vehicles to demonstrate highway traffic.

He noted improvements will help alleviate driver frustration on the highway.

Frustration often occurs when drivers get stuck behind slower and larger vehicles travelling the highway, Murchison said.

“You need these opportunities to relieve driver frustration,” he said.

“By relieving that frustration, you reduce the potential for people to make unsafe maneuvers on the highway.”

Officials acknowledged the work will mean some delays during construction, at the busiest time of year for tourist traffic on the road.

However, they noted efforts with both the city and territorial Department of Tourism and Culture will be made to minimize any inconvenience.

It was also highlighted in a summary of the Range Road work that the public will be advised of traffic delays before construction gets underway.

As well, “local residents may want to vary their route or allow for additional time for their daily commutes.”

The work for Range Road is currently going through the Yukon Environmental Socio-economic Assessment Board process, with the comment period having ended late last week.

It’s now in the reviewing information phase, before recommendations may be made.

Comments (14)

Up 11 Down 0

Wilf on Mar 15, 2019 at 2:31 pm

Think of this as an add-on cost to the city's new building because they new going in they were going to congest the area but so chose to build there anyways.

Up 9 Down 5

North_of_60 on Mar 14, 2019 at 8:56 pm

The LIB scam is to promise the money now, but over such a long period that they can use withholding the funding as leverage for votes in the next election. The opposition can take the wind out of their sails by agreeing to continue funding for these major infrastructure projects when elected.

Up 10 Down 4

Yukoner79 on Mar 14, 2019 at 4:44 pm

(Guncache - not the only time you see him. If you pay close attention, you will notice that where there is food, there is Larry. )

I will note that the previous government had a study undertaken which addressed this section of highway. It was completely ridiculous to see the reaction - people spewing bull about how the government was trying to turn it into a 4 lane highway. This new government decided to scrap that plan, because they refused to put their name on any other government's plan or idea. It was a much better plan, I will add.

This is an expensive waste of taxpayers' money and I hope people don't just let this one slide. I'm sure the Mayor will be happy...
PLEASE - work with the City to address traffic issues out of Riverdale. Some planning money would be useful there.
Now they are forcing through some other crap that is addressing areas that do not need to be addressed, simply in order to change the access lane to accommodate new buildings along the stretch.

Where are the yuppies now screaming down the Liberals for their nonsense? Address the areas with real safety issues. Don't pick random spots to appease a handful of voters and call them safety concerns. You do have an election coming up...not soon enough.

Up 9 Down 1

Groucho d'North on Mar 13, 2019 at 6:12 pm

Could it be that this flood of our tax money is being committed before an early election is called and the piggy bank closes? We'll see I guess.

Up 7 Down 4

HedghogSandwich on Mar 12, 2019 at 3:36 pm

Good to see this one passed YESAB review. Now, will someone please tell me what exactly I have to do to get them to approve my Proposed Hedgehog Crossing on the Alaska Highway ? ( my God but I tried to get them to see the win-win scenario of having the spiky little critters there for those emergency situations when on-the-run absconding drivers need bringing to a halt with these ‘alternative tyre-shredding speed spikes’.)

Up 2 Down 3

Logic Wins again! on Mar 12, 2019 at 2:43 pm

Yay, I was right!

Up 9 Down 3

Peter Cambridge on Mar 12, 2019 at 1:47 pm

We need to extend the YESEB review folks.
I use this road for my ATV and the improvements are going to reduce my experience with all the traffic.

Up 28 Down 8

Guncache on Mar 11, 2019 at 9:40 pm

Another photo-op for Larry, the only time you see him.

Up 16 Down 25

My Opinion on Mar 11, 2019 at 9:00 pm

We do not need more speed and bigger roads we need slow speed. For both safety and to slow the Tourists down enough to have them stop and enjoy our beautiful city and spend money with our businesses.

They love to use safety as a reason for all this when in fact the biggest most modern intersection (Top of Two Mile) is the most dangerous in town. Since they redid the South Access intersection it has been a killing field. Please leave our safe areas alone, we don't need your kind of intervention.

Up 12 Down 28

Just Sayin on Mar 11, 2019 at 6:29 pm

We don't need bigger faster roads we need lower speeds. Let's slow the tourists down so they may stay a bit and enjoy our Community.

Up 14 Down 10

Just Sayin on Mar 11, 2019 at 6:28 pm

So YESEB is over already. It was nice they told us today. Government trying to ram things through. Before anyone knows.

Up 17 Down 1

joe on Mar 11, 2019 at 5:13 pm

Because there are accidents at Sumanik drive?

Up 21 Down 4

Apex Parasite on Mar 11, 2019 at 4:49 pm

"Frustration often occurs when drivers get stuck behind slower and larger vehicles travelling the highway, Murchison said."
No kidding here.

Getting caught behind someone obstinately doing 20 under in decent conditions can be a little trying. You can't help but wonder what people are thinking when they watch traffic building behind them. Also troubling is someone running well under for no real reason that in turn reports drivers passing them (safely) which has happened to me in a company truck.

Lead, follow or get out of the way.
That being said I don't really have any significant problems with the way things are.

Up 21 Down 27

Politico on Mar 11, 2019 at 3:04 pm

More highways, more speed, more traffic lights. Just what we need to relieve traffic congestion in Whitehorse!

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.