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WHITEHORSE – According to project documents on the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) website, major roadwork, and storm sewer line repair just south of Selkirk Elementary School in Riverdale were to be completed in 2021. Project documents say the work was to occur with minimal disruption to traffic.
However, work on the project is not complete as we enter the 2022-2023 school year. Parents of Selkirk Elementary were informed on the first day of school that access to the Lewes Boulevard and Alsek Road intersection would be closed until October. Parents were told their children should use the push-button crosswalk on Lewes just north of the school.
Furthermore, with major work set to begin this week at the intersection, the City of Whitehorse announced that the traffic lights are set for deactivation on Wednesday, August 24, and a three-way stop will take its place. With peak Riverdale traffic occurring as students head to school in the morning, the situation will quickly become an accident waiting to happen.
The Yukon Party Official Opposition is wondering why this project at the bottleneck of a major Whitehorse subdivision, in an area with two high schools and an elementary school is not yet complete. With the request for students to access the crosswalk further north on Lewes, how are students supposed to cross Alsek? What did the Liberal government do to try to avoid this result? How have the two Liberal MLAs for Riverdale advocated for their constituents to avoid this traffic nightmare? When the project was going through YESAB, did the Riverdale MLAs make their constituents aware of the scope encompassing the roadwork at Alsek and Lewes so that they could comment? In addition, when did the Liberal government first inform the Selkirk School Council of changes to access to the school for students and parents?
This is yet another case of the Liberals’ mismanaging an infrastructure project and not doing the due diligence to ensure the work was completed with minimal disruption to Yukoners.
*Update August 25*
Since the Yukon Party first raised this issue, some additional traffic controls have been put in place at the intersection during peak school hours.