Highway to be repaired from Niven Gate to 49th Street, DOT says

Highway 4 in Yellowknife. (Photo by MyTrueNorthNow.com staff.)
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A section of highway from Niven Gate to 49th Street will be repaired and upgraded this summer, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

With the hotel and residential developments underway nearby, upgrades to the roadway are required, says Kevin McLeod, the director of highways and marine.

“The intersection with the legislative assembly and Nova will be improved, so that it can take the extra traffic we expect to be turning into that complex,” McLeod said.

“Then we’ll resurface it, take out any rough spots and repaint the lines.”

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The issue of pedestrian safety along the route has been raised over the years, with no separation between pedestrians and vehicles.

“The city would like to improve the sidewalk,” said McLeod. “They’re reviewing their ability to pay for the sidewalk.”

Because the territory still owns the road, curb and sidewalk installation will not be part of construction.

Discussions are ongoing about transferring ownership of the road from the GNWT to the city.

“Our discussions are when it’s a right time for the city to take it over, after they city has had approval from their councilors and processes.”

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But not everyone is supportive of the idea.

Niels Konge, a Yellowknife city councillor, says he has concerns about the costs of maintaining the road and whether the city can afford it.

“I am apprehensive of taking ownership of it,” Konge said. “It has settling issues, so it might get fixed this summer but what kind of a fix is it? Is it a two year fix, a five year fix or a 50 year fix?”

“If we take it, it becomes an asset that the city has to own and maintain which will cost taxpayer dollars.”

Meanwhile, Nova Builders has begun excavating along the highway for a utility corridor that will cross the road to service the new hotel development.

DOT says road improvements will be carried out simultaneously and should wrap up by mid to late August.

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