Changes are on the way for Tim Hortons, where heavy traffic has created a headache for nearby residents for decades.
Owners of the popular business on Highway 97 confirmed this week that they plan to add a second drive-thru lane in an effort to reduce some of the vehicle congestion that often spills onto adjacent roadways.
Donna Lecompte, whose family took over ownership of the restaurant just over a month ago, said the start date has yet to be finalized with head office, but they are aiming to begin work after Thanksgiving weekend.
“Before we took over we were well aware from corporate that plans for a double drive-thru were being made,” Lecompte said, adding they knew the drive-thru had been a concern for many people in the area for 20 years. “We are totally game, it’s going to make a real difference.”
The current single-lane drive-thru means cars in peak hours can be backed up as far as Highway 97 to enter the lineup.
For Joanne McNabb, who lives on Cecil Place behind the former Red Coach Inn, getting to and from her residence each day has become a “huge frustration.”
“It is such a headache for the people who live behind there, and I worry that the infrastructure isn’t there for the development they’re doing up the hill,” McNabb said, referring to the new Heron Ridge subdivision. She adds she battles daily with drivers while just trying to get access to her home.
“People are in such a hurry to get in front of you because they think you’re going to Tim Hortons, so they cut you off. The other issue is they hang out into the crosswalk, and sometimes the cars trying to turn left are just hanging out into the intersection.”
McNabb said she has witnessed vehicles on the sidewalk, and multiple fender benders as people try to navigate into the drive-thru in heavy traffic.
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A widening of the side street that drivers turn off when entering the drive-thru would be a helpful option, McNabb pointed out. The side street falls under the jurisdiction of the District of 100 Mile House but requests for comment from the district on the issue were not returned by Free Press deadline.
Lecompte agreed that additional lanes – designated for drive-thru traffic, parking lot traffic, and through traffic – would be helpful, but said as a brand new business owner in town, it’s not something she has had a chance to bring to the District’s attention.
In the meantime, she is confident that doubling the drive-thru lanes will help bring some of the traffic off the street and onto their property.
“What it’s going to do is bring three extra cars off the main thoroughfare and into our area,” she said. “It will alleviate the lineup that much more, and the flow is going to be a lot better.”
The upgrade will involve creating a second lane as you enter the Tim Hortons property. Each lane will have its own ordering speaker system, and they will merge into one lane at approximately the location of the current speaker, Lecompte said.
Lecompte said there will be a “little bit” of downtime when the work is initially started, but they are aiming for minimal disruptions to service.
“When they’re working on one side, we can keep the other side open,” she said. “But we are still figuring out all the details.”