One Mile House interchange project nearly complete
Saint John Coun. Bill Farren wants to ensure overpass diverts trucks from high traffic areas
Work is almost finished on a Saint John overpass that has taken several years and tens of millions of dollars to complete.
Before the One Mile House interchange opens, Coun. Bill Farren is insisting the city do more to ensure it will keep as many transport trucks off Saint John streets as possible.
The truck traffic on streets isn't as heavy as it used to be, said Farren, but more can still be done to ease congestion in some neighbourhoods.
"They are still quite frequent, more frequent than what they should be," said Farren.
"And this new overpass will help alleviate it even more."
Farren has asked city staff to find high traffic areas where trucks could be banned, so that trucks aren't using certain streets when the One Mile House overpass opens.
"Let's get those in place, let's notify the transportation companies, and as soon as the bridge opens, we're ready to go," he said.
"Some of it may require provincial changes in legislation, so let's get that done now instead of waiting and not reaping the benefits of this new overpass."
The One Mile House highway interchange involves a series of overpasses that will lead to the Bayside Drive industrial area. It was meant to divert increased truck traffic expected from a second oil refinery.
Irving Oil cancelled Ltd. its plans to build the refinery, but the interchange still went ahead.
Farren said moving trucks to the overpass would save money when it comes to wear and tear on city roads, and would also make the uptown area a more attractive place to drive.
Bob McVicar, a Saint John real estate agent, said he is a big fan of Farren's motion.
He said such an approach would cut down on perceived notions of the uptown being a noisy place to live, while also improving the quality of life for those already here.
"You'll get typical truck noise, you'll get engine noise, the thumping and bumping if the roads have imperfections in them," said McVicar.
"It's avoidable. And I think that's the magic in what's about to happen here."
City staff are preparing a response to Farren's motion. He said the Department of Transportation has assured him that the overpass will be open in a matter of months, so a decision will have to be made soon.
Transportation officials have said the final price tag on the One Mile House project in Saint John is $74-million — approximately 70 per cent more than originally planned.