Abitibi rejects request for traffic study

Abitibi-Consolidated has turned down a request from town council to do yet another study of traffic flow at the new Canada Customs and Immigration facility here.
“We’ve already paid for two traffic studies. We’re not going to pay for another,” mill manager Jim Gartshore said.
“I would like to point, though, that we’re not done yet working on the bridge,” he added. “There’s some work that couldn’t be done in the winter, and we’re still working on things like more signage.
“Of course, the old Customs building is now out of there so we’ll see what we can do,” Gartshore noted.
The old Customs facility was torn down late last week.
But Gartshore also conceded the reported traffic flow problems are legitimate and need to be solved. “We still want to sit down with the town and take a look at the situation,” he said.
“I think everybody knew it wasn’t necessarily the best place for a new Customs in the first place. But the only alternative would be if we had a new bridge, and I haven’t seen any money come forward there,” added Gartshore.
Pat Hickerson, manager of facilities and operations for the town, said while Abitibi’s response has not officially come before council yet, he received a letter from Gartshore on Friday.
“We’ll certainly be sitting down and discussing what we have been doing and what we might be able to do,” he noted.
In related news, Public Works crews have been posting new signage—purchased to hopefully provide better truck traffic flow from the Customs facility—since Friday.
“We’ve just got started putting them up. We’ll be working on this all week,” said Hickerson.
The seven new signs are as follows:
•On the 200 block of Church Street, a sign will read “Truck route to Highway 11/71 East—Veteran Avenue”;
•A sign at the turn on to Veteran Avenue will have a “No trucks beyond this point,” indicating no trucks may continue to travel east on Church Street;
•A sign on Mowat Avenue, between Church and Scott Streets, will indicate “Truck route west,” with an arrow pointing north down Mowat; and
•There will be three signs at the intersection of Scott Street and Mowat Avenue: one indicating no left turns; a second indicating right turns lead to the business district; and a third indicating “Go straight north” to the intersection at Second Street East and Mowat Avenue to get to the turn on to Highway 11/71 West.
While Hickerson originally proposed the signs be 60×60 cm (about two sq. ft.) in size, councillors agreed he should look into larger ones before approving the purchase of the signs at their April 8 meeting.
The town’s concern over addressing the traffic confusion as soon as possible is not only to ease tourists’ entrance into the area, but also to prevent having to call in police to direct traffic, which could cut into the town’s own wallet.

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