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Iqaluit's first traffic lights proposed

Iqaluit could see its first traffic light installed if council adopts a transportation consultant's plan to revamp the Nunavut capital's road system, but at least one city councillor says it's not worth spending money to save a few minutes in traffic.

Iqaluit could see its first traffic light installed if council adopts a transportation consultant's plan to revamp the Nunavut capital's road system, but at least one city councillor says it's not worth spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to save a few minutes in traffic.

David Banks, a senior consultant with Ontario-based iTrans Consulting, was hired by the City of Iqaluit to suggest ways of easing traffic congestion at some key intersections.

Banks's recommendations, which he presented to council Tuesday night, include adding a stoplight and left-hand turning lanes in all directions of the Four Corners intersection, which currently has stop signs.

He also suggests an eastbound turning lane at Inuksuk High School.

And at the hospital intersection, despite calls for a traffic light, he is not suggesting one at this time.

"We're projecting, based on the growth data that was provided to us by the city that signals may be warranted in 15 or 20 years, based on the growth of traffic," he told council Tuesday night.

Banks told CBC News that he is recommending a "northbound right-turning lane on Queen Elizabeth Way to help those vehicles that get stuck behind the traffic that's backed up making left turns, or going straight across into the hospital."

Banks said there is still some work to do before finalizing the plans.

Costs for the proposed traffic changes are estimated at about $600,000 — spending that Coun. Glenn Williams said is too hefty.

"Is it right for us to spend a half a million dollars so I can get home three or four minutes earlier?" Williams said at Tuesday's council meeting.

Banks acknowledged to council that traffic congestion is an issue only sometimes.

Busy traffic occurs about four times a day, peaking during the lunch rush, council was told.

But even during those busy times, Williams said the wait might be worth it.

"I could still drive to work quicker than I can walk to work. So congestion can't be that bad," he said.

Banks said he will give the city information on a "do-nothing" option, which would maintain the status quo and keep four-way stop signs on busy intersections.

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