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Frequently Asked Questions

Construction

Why are major roadwork projects done in the spring and summer?
Why not do the work at night?
Why does it take so long?
What times can crews work?

Signals


Roundabouts

Roundabouts, rotaries, traffic circles - they're all the same, aren't they?
Aren't traffic signals safer than roundabouts for pedestrians?
Are roundabouts appropriate everywhere?
I drive a big truck and that roundabout looks awfully tight. Will my vehicle fit?
How about cycling through a roundabout?
What about snow removal at roundabouts?

Construction

Why are major roadwork projects done in the spring and summer?

The drier weather makes the work faster and less expensive. Taxpayers get good value for their dollar and the neighbourhoods are impacted for less time than if we did the work in the winter months. As well, asphalt plants are closed during the winter so roads would have to be left for longer periods with only a gravel surface. Traffic volumes are generally lower in the summer months and therefore roadwork impacts fewer drivers.

Why not do the work at night?

Working at night would have less impact on traffic, however, the noise from the equipment would generally be too disruptive to residents.   In areas of the city where work can be done at night without disrupting residents' sleep this does occur. 

Why does it take so long?

Paving can be done quite quickly, taking only a few days to cover several blocks. However, in order to avoid paving the street and then having to tear up the asphalt to make another infrastructure repair, the City of Kelowna coordinates major roadwork projects so that any repairs to sewer, water or other utilities are made prior to paving. Underneath the road surface are sewer, water, and gas pipes; electrical power, cable, and telephone line conduits also occupy the space under the road. The area in which crews have to work is very small and crowded with all of these utilities. This crowded work space as well as the hazards of working underground make the work difficult. 

What times can crews work?

Construction on a street is permitted between the following hours: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Sunday. An exemption from these hours is granted by the City Engineer when public safety could be compromised if the work was done during regular hours, or when it is deemed less disruptive to do the work overnight rather than during regular hours.

Roundabouts

Roundabouts, rotaries, traffic circles - they're all the same, aren't they?

No. Other than sharing a circular shape, a modern roundabout operates much differently than other traffic circles, including rotaries. A modern roundabout requires entering traffic to yield the right-of-way to traffic already in the roundabout. This keeps the traffic in the roundabout constantly moving and prevents much of the gridlock that plagues rotaries. Modern roundabouts are also much smaller than traffic circles and thus operate at safer, slower speeds. The design of a modern roundabout allows capacities comparable to signals but with generally a higher degree of safety.

 

Aren't traffic signals safer than roundabouts for pedestrians?

It depends on the amount of pedestrians and vehicles. In many cases a roundabout can offer a safer environment for pedestrians than a traffic signal because the pedestrian crossing at a roundabout is reduced to two simple crossings of one-way traffic moving at slow speeds. A pedestrian crossing at a traffic signal still needs to contend with vehicles turning right or left on green, vehicles turning right on red and vehicles running the red light. The latter of these potential conflicts occur at high speeds and often result in injuries or fatalities to pedestrians.

Are roundabouts appropriate everywhere?

No. The choice of using a roundabout versus a traffic signal is a case-by-case decision. The City of Kelowna evaluates each candidate intersection individually to determine whether a roundabout or a traffic signal is more appropriate.

I drive a big truck and that roundabout looks awfully tight. Will my vehicle fit?

Yes. The roundabout has been designed to accommodate large vehicles. As you approach the roundabout, stay close to the left side of the entry. As you exit, again stay close to the left side of the exit.

What should I do when I'm in a roundabout when an emergency vehicle arrives?

Exit the roundabout at the nearest exit and pull over to the right and stop. Do not stop in the roundabout as you might block the path of a large emergency vehicle.

How about cycling through a roundabout?

A cyclist has a number of options at a roundabout and the choice will depend on the degree of comfort riding in traffic. The speed of cars through a roundabout is close to the speed you ride your bicycle. You can choose to either circulate as a vehicle or use the sidewalk around the roundabout. When circulating as a vehicle, be sure to ride near the middle of the lane so that drivers can see you and will not attempt to pass you. Cars should be travelling at speeds similar to your speed within the circular roadway portion of the roundabout.

What about snow removal at roundabouts? 

A number of communities in snowy areas have installed roundabouts. All have indicated that while there is some initial adjustment in procedures for snowplow crews, roundabouts generally present no major problems for snow removal. 

Signals

The first priority of this provincial highway corridor is the efficient movement of traffic. The next priority is for vehicular and pedestrian traffic crossing the highway. The last is left turning vehicles.

The signals are programmed to the maximum cycle (time required to complete green, yellow and red phases) and addition time taken away from the capacity of the highway itself such as providing time for left-turn signals will take away "green" time for crossing street traffic.

Alternatively, left turns off and on the highway are alternated for the exception of Gordon Drive intersection.

For more information contact the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure at 250 712-3270.

 
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