Big changes for Delta's 72nd Avenue

Even more changes are planned for one of the busiest roadways in Delta.

The city’s engineering department has been planning a series of upgrades for 72nd Avenue, which sees up to 28,000 vehicles daily.

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A recent report to council notes ICBC completed a safety audit of the 72nd Avenue roadway improvement project, from the BNSF overpass to 120th Street, and have made recommendations to enhance the proposed design.

To address the safety audit recommendations, Delta staff recommend including a narrow median island along 72nd Avenue to restrict turning movements from driveways and side streets. 

“Once 72 Avenue has four travel lanes available and the driveways along 72 Avenue are consolidated with re-development, the improved operation for traffic along 72 Avenue may have the unintended consequence of enabling higher travel speeds. The straight alignment, increased capacity in the peak hours, significant down grade in the western section and the nature of the corridor being a major east-west link between Scott Road and Highway 91, all have an impact on driver behavior and choice in  travel speeds,” an engineering department report warns.

“Given that speeds may increase along the corridor, it may become more challenging for vehicles on the side streets to find suitable gaps to turn onto 72 Avenue. Typically when that occurs, drivers may become frustrated and take unnecessary risks. It also may become particularly difficult for vehicles to turn left into and out of their private driveways. As such, staff are recommending that a narrow median island along 72 Avenue be included in the design to improve safety for all road users.”

Staff recommend including signalized U-turns at Westview Drive and 116th Street to improve access for property owners that front onto 72nd Avenue.

Staff also recommend signalized U-turns at two additional intersections, which would involve property impacts, at 112th Street and at Nicholson Road.

delta 72 avenue

The engineering department notes the westbound queue on the avenue typically extends back to 115th Street during a typical morning rush hour.

With the addition of an extra westbound travel lane, the queue is expected to decrease by 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, on-street parking along 72 Avenue would be restricted in both directions during peak hours from Monday to Friday, including 6 to 9 a.m. and also from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.

However, the city is mulling an even longer daytime parking restriction, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Driveway safety improvements would be offered for properties fronting the avenue to allow vehicles to turnaround on their property, while sight lines would be reviewed at each driveway.

Costing $4.5 million, the first phase of the project, if approved, would commence in 2020 from the BNSF overpass to 115th Street.

The second phase, which would cost an estimated $4.3 million, would be undertaken from 115th to 120th Street in 2021.

Public information meetings are planned for March.

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