While preliminary work has started at Ocean Avenue and Fifth Street in Sidney on the town’s new roundabout, the main traffic delays as a result won’t really begin until next month.
Phase one of the project is set to begin in early February and last until late March. During that time, drivers will be re-routed away from the east portion Ocean Avenue. This means a long detour for traffic headed on and out of the Anacortes Ferry terminal. Only residential and ferry traffic will be allowed in the stretch of Ocean Avenue south of Second Street.
Town staff on Monday presented their plan to communicate these delays, and the overall project, with the public.
Rob Hall, director of engineering and works, says the town has a communications plan in place to help avoid traffic issues and driver inconvenience. It also addresses access to the Lochside Trail for pedestrians and other users.
The plan in a collaboration between the engineering the public works departments, has plans to use notice boards, signs, newspaper advertising, the town’s own newsletter and direct mailouts to let people know what’s going on.
The new roundabout construction will last from next month until the end of June. During that time, there will be impacts on local traffic.
Already, signs have gone up on streets leading to the intersection, letting drives know of potential detours and delays.
The first phase of construction will focus on the east portion of Ocean Avenue at Fifth Street. Traffic headed down there — including people wanting to get to and from the Anacortes Ferry terminal — will be directed down Fifth Street to Bevan Avenue. From there, drivers can turn right and go to First Street, which loops back around to the ferry.
In phase two, the west side of Ocean Avenue will be closed, forcing local traffic along Fifth to Orchard Avenue, with access to homes from Sixth Street.
In phase three, and throughout the entire project, Fifth Street will stay open, subject to single lane traffic and various delays and stoppages to accommodate the work.
“This is a great level of communications here,” said Councillor Kenny Podmore at the council’s committee of the whole meeting Jan. 21.
“There has been criticism of the town in the past for not having enough communication. but this project, and it’s significant impact, needs it.”
Mayor Larry Cross said the plan is probably one of the best communication plans in the Town of Sidney.
Hall noted in a report to council that while the timeline for the job is ambitious, there could be unforeseen delays.
That means the town will take steps to provide the public with regular updates on the town’s website (www.sidney.ca).
The site will include information about the project, timelines, detours and general information about how to better drive in a roundabout.