New road will give 'safer access' to UPEI campus for students, staff

UPEI is looking to expand and has begun construction on a road that would connect the rest of campus to the alumni building at 618 University Ave.

The road will be a two-way street with a pedestrian and cycling lane on the side. It will end behind the athletics fields on campus.

"That really links us up and it provides, I think, a safer access for students, faculty and staff to get from one end of the campus to the other," said Jackie Podger, vice-president administration and finance for the school. 

"It also provides a third exit, which is really important to us for people to enter on and off of campus. Right now we only have two, which is Belvedere and University, and this provides another link on to University."

Master plan

That was something they looked at after the province-wide school evacuations in 2016, Podger said. 

The road is a part of the campus master plan, that was developed in 2006, and updated in 2018. It lays out future development plans and possibilities, including expanding the campus north. 

Podger said another classroom lab building and more residences could be coming in the future.

Natalia Goodwin/CBC

"There's a number of different things that we could look to do because there is quite a substantial piece of land there," she said.

"So we would just have to look at the needs and wants of how the university is growing and building and then be able to respond to those needs with the proper buildings."

Wetlands will be protected

The road is going around a protected wetland area, and that space will remain safe, said Podger.

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"When we designed that road we made sure that we were in compliance with the Department of Environment as well as with the city," she said.

"We're away from the buffer zone around the environmental piece around the wetlands."

Natalia Goodwin/CBC

And that included working with police around how the road would connect to University Avenue. 

"What we're hoping to do … is that we will actually link up that roadway that we're building to the lights that are currently on University Avenue. So it'll be a much safer on-off process because people will have to stop, enter and exit through the lights," Podger said.

The road is scheduled to open in the spring of 2020. 

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