Skip to content

Design for Auto Road Connector in Salmon Arm to include closing Shoemaker Hill

City hasn’t acquired all land needed yet, detailed design to help with financial planning
A city map shows proposed changes to facilitate Auto Road Connector which include closing steep, winding Shoemaker Hill on 10th Avenue SE and connecting Auto Road to 14th Avenue SE. (City of Salmon Arm image)

The long-imagined Auto Road Connector has taken another step along the road to reality.

At its Oct. 25 meeting, city council awarded engineering services for detailed design of the connector to ISL Engineering and Land Services Ltd. for approximately $100,000 – one of four companies competing for the contract.

The connector plan will include: the closure of Shoemaker Hill, which is the steep, curved portion of 10th Avenue SE; the termination of 10th Avenue SW at the bottom of the hill; the termination of 10th Avenue SE at the top of the hill; the connection of Auto Road to 14th Avenue SE; two possible underpasses on either side of a high pressure gas main; and the extension of 5th Street SE across to the connector.

In explaining the contract award, Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, said although ISL Engineering was the second-lowest bidder, its proposal was exceptional.

“This is a project that we cannot spare the cost on; it’s a very important connector for the community, as well as it affects a lot of different access points… We’re looking at terminating the Shoemaker Hill component, as well as a connection for 5th Street SE connecting into Auto Road. There are a number of things that have to be done very well here with a lot of thought.”

Niewenhuizen explained the city doesn’t have all the land required for the project, but the design will help in determining the costs so they can be included in the city’s long-term financial plans.

Read more: City plans for connector

Read more: Task force to examine Highway 1 bypass options for commercial vehicle traffic

Mayor Alan Harrison described the Auto Road Connector as the second most talked-about road in the city, right behind Lakeshore.

“What I can add is we have two high priority local road projects in the city. The Auto Road Connector and Lakeshore Road,” he wrote in an email after the meeting. “The design work here is complicated, as the topography is challenging in places, and the road needs to cross a high-pressure Fortis gas line.

“This connector is high priority because of all the development in the Hillcrest area. Vehicular traffic has increased greatly over time, and is presently funneled down 10th, then 5th Street SE and Shoemaker Hill (when it is open). We need to divert the through traffic away from these areas.”

Harrison said the two possible underpass locations, due to topography, are possible but not verified, depending on the design work. He also said initial plans are not to build the extension of 5th Street SE immediately, but to ensure the planning and building of the Auto Street Connector takes it into consideration, so that sometime in the future, if necessary, it can be built.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
Read more