Future of Farmington Store Discussed
It's been a hot topic in Farmington ever since the government of British Columbia announced the plans to have the Alaska Highway twinned from the Alberta border to Fort St. John. What is going to happen to the Farmington Store? Representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure were in Farmington today presenting two plans for routing the traffic to the store.
"We've got two options right now. One would be to utilize the current park land road intersection at the highway and then build a frontage access off of that to access the store. That is by far the safest option. And really all it does is all the community that's in behind on the west side of the highway would never have to touch the highway to get down to the store. There are some concerns for the store itself in terms of the viability of the store itself in terms of the people heading northbound, whether they would even go into the store or not. so we're certainly trying to compare those in terms with the safety. Option two is to build more of a standard left turn off of the highway into the store itself. That way it will provide safe access to the store in a more traditional sense. So right now we're looking at both options and just trying to get the public sense of which one they would prefer us to move forward with," explained District Manager with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Scott Maxwell.
The affected land owner is Stan Mracek and he says there's nothing the government can do to get him to sell the land they would need to run the road off the highway.
"That's not going to happen. They can't buy me off. So there's nothing they can offer me. I think there's a better alternative to the plan by just putting in a simple left turning lane into the store and then our store will also survive. Because if they put this highway frontage road in as the other proposal then people won't, the northbound traffic will not spend 10 minutes extra getting in and out of the store," said Mracek
While there are pros and cons to each plan Maxwell says there is a definite danger with putting in a left hand turn lane on the highway so close to the Park Land Road.
"It is a concern and it's one of the things we're looking at and one of the ways we've mitigated that is with a left hand turn lane that we've currently got designed. It's offset south as possible to split up Park Land and the new left turn as far as we can. There is a risk that in the winter if we've got some snow on the highways and some of the lanes are obscured that it could be a little bit challenging. But overall it's not a very irregular situation throughout the province so it's a concern, it's part of the cost benefit analysis we do on all our projects and we'll look into that."
Plans continue for the roadways around the Farmington Store. There is no set date for construction to start in the area and Maxwell says that information garnered today will be taken back and further plans will be brought forward.