Why is Highways and Public Works proposing so many projects in this area?

    The Yukon government is committed to investing in road infrastructure to ensure our roads are safe. That is why we are making safety improvements to the Alaska Highway within the City of Whitehorse.

    The main objective of these safety upgrades is to reduce the probability and potential for collisions and points of conflict. These points of conflict not only concern motorists, but also pedestrian and cyclists using the Alaska Highway.

    Why do we need a frontage road?

    Frontage or service roads support the guiding principal for design of a highway which is installing controlled accesses, spaced longer that 400 meters apart to ensure the safe flow of traffic on and off a highway for vehicles, transport trucks, pedestrians and cyclists.

    What is happening to the existing accesses onto the highway?

    Closing multiple accesses of a highway that runs through this community is required to improve safety by reducing opportunities for conflict. Providing a frontage or service road will allow for diverse traffic activity to flow safely and efficiently into and out of the Hillcrest commercial and residential areas.

    With this in mind, Hillcrest Drive will remain a primary intersection, and will be upgraded to include a signalized control for all traffic from the airport, on the highway, and Hillcrest residential and commercial areas.

    Further, there will be a new signalized intersection at Wassan Road and the Alaska highway, providing traffic a second access point on- and off- of the Alaska Highway and into the Hillcrest commercial area.

    Does the design account for future projections?

    Yes, the design reflects the anticipated growth in the Yukon, from the Yukon Bureau of Statistics... On March 31, 2019, Yukon's population (40,962), increased by 245 people, or 0.6%, from the figure for December 31, 2018 (40,717), and increased by 843 people, or 2.1% , from March 31, 2018 (40,119). 

    Why do we need 4-lanes plus turning lanes?

    The traffic and collision analysis compounded with the current class of road, indicates that the traffic characteristics and existing geometry make for unsafe conditions. These analyses also take into account driver behavior when faced with frustrating conditions, such as a slow-moving semi-trailer, which frequently results in erratic and unsafe driver behavior. 

    Head to the Library page, to view the technical memo developed by CAP Engineering team related to this discussion!

    Can you provide data on the traffic forecast that shows the increased traffic warrants the 4-lane and intersection accesses?

    The traffic data and analysis included in the 2014 Functional Plan report developed by CH2MHill, and further supported by the 2017 Traffic and Safety Analysis Report provided by Paul De Leur, provide an accurate account of the current conditions in this section of the Alaska Highway. Based on this analysis, 4-lanes are warranted now based existing traffic volumes, irrespective of future projections. Current traffic counts are in progress (May 2019), and these results will be shared when available.

    Can you explain why 60km/hr will make a difference with the addition of the new lanes?

    Speed limits within the City of Whitehorse vary markedly, and can be confusing for both residents and tourists alike. For consistency, it is the approach of HPW to slow traffic from the weigh scales through to the current speed limit change by Bethany Church. Jurisdiction on speed limits and enforcement ultimately fall to the City of Whitehorse and RCMP respectively, and HPW and the City are working closely to ensure the safety of users is paramount in decision-making.

    You are increasing the width of the highway, how does this actually protect and increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists?

    Pedestrian and cyclists will now be provided the opportunity to cross the highway at two signalized intersections where they can stop traffic to safely cross. Further, dedicated trails off the surface of the highway will be maintained or added, as part of the project. 

    Why a barrier and not painted islands?

    Raised medians provide better direction and physical separation when left turn lanes are designed opposite one another. However, this project is in the conceptual design phase, and these details will be reviewed during the detailed design phase.

    What about a pedestrian underpass?

    Underpasses can be an effective mechanism for pedestrians and bicyclists to transit. A literature review indicates that pedestrians (and cyclists) may opt not to use an underpass if transit across the top of the road can be completed in the same amount of time. 

    Further too, there are challenges and benefits both to an underpass beneath the highway, ranging from user safety to maintenance and impacts to surrounding land use and utilities.

    More detail can be found in the provided memo

    Potential location for a pedestrian underpass

    Want more information? Ask a question and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

    Will people drive faster with 4 lanes?

    As it is now, the average operating speed for vehicles in this area exceeds the posted speed limit.  As well, review of the collision patterns identified an over-representation of urban and highvolume related collision patterns (e.g., rear-end collisions and over-taking).  The challenge in this context is providing opportunities for operators pass slower vehicles and reduce occurrence of poor maneuvers that lead to collisions, while keeping traffic within an acceptable operating speed.  There are a number of methods to slow speeders including enforcement such as police enforcement, automated speed tickets, demerit point systems or design elements such as road side features. 

    Why is this the same as 2014 functional plan?

    The projects proposed for construction are projects scoped to address specific problematic safety areas where as the 2014 functional plan proposed a larger construction scope.  The similarities may exist in the 4-lane proposal and this rational is described in the analysis included here.

    Why close Burns Road?

    The guiding principal in safety improvement is accomplished by controlling the access onto the highway, reducing those accesses and spacing intersection by at least 400 metres.  Access and frontage road geometrics require turning radii suitable for large trucks and an intersection at Burns road will impact the Airport Chalet property.  This impact has to be done in negotiations with the Airport Chalet owner and so an alternative intersection to Burns road needs to be considered. 

    What about the Chalet?

    The Airport Chalet and the government are in discussions and working towards an agreement that is considerate of the historic nature of the site and the history of the area.

    Why put an intersection at Wasson?

    The guiding principal in safety improvement is accomplished by controlling the access onto the highway, reducing those accesses and spacing intersection by at least 400 metres.  Access and frontage road geometrics require turning radii suitable for large trucks and an intersection at Burns road will impact the Airport Chalet property.  An intersection at Wasson is considered a viable alternative to an intersection at Burns road because this location can support the guild principles for highway safety upgrades. 

    Wasson is close to Burns, what does that mean for safety?

    The guiding principal in safety improvement is accomplished by controlling the access onto the highway, reducing those accesses and spacing intersection by at least 400 metres.  The Wasson intersection is less than 400 metres away from Burns road so taper lengths and turning lanes will have to be considered carefully to ensure highway safety.

    How will additional traffic from Roundel be managed?

    We are currently working with the city to understand turning patterns and evaluating if traffic can be directed to Hillcrest drive from roundel in other routes besides a frontage road. More information will be coming soon, as HPW and North of 60 are in discussions about the implications to their site.

    How will cyclists be safe through the frontage rd/ Hillcrest intersection? As well as Hillcrest/ Hwy intersection?

    Cyclist have a few options and these are dependent on the cyclists internal comfort with risks and evaluating risks associated with highway traffic.  A cyclist can opt to commute on a multi purpose trail, on the shoulder of the highway or on the frontage roads.  A signalized intersection will provide a safer alternative to vulnerable commuters as compared to a random crossing with no signal.

    How will people know the museum is there?

    By a blue tourist sign or with a sign mounted on a the large sign stands located along the highway right of way.

    Its dark around Lodestar, will lights be erected?

    Yes, lights will be erected and the illumination will be made to the Transportation Association of Canada standard.  The bulbs will be LED following the upgrade.