Ministry of Transportation senior project manager Rampaul Dulay.

Giving Kelowna drivers a wider berth

The $60-million project to widen part of Highway 97 through Kelowna is now 40 per cent complete.

The project to expand part of Highway 97 through Kelowna to six lanes is on time and on budget says the Ministry of Transportation.

And the 18-month construction project is slated to be complete before the end of the year.

Reporters were taken on a tour of the work on Wednesday—a 4.5 kilometre stretch between Highway 33 and Edwards Road—and senior project manager Rampaul Dulay said the work is now 40 per cent complete on the $60 million project.

Originally budgeted at $50 million, Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick said the final price tag jumped by $10 million due to required additional property acquisition, the discovery of aboriginal archaeological artifacts and design changes.

A total of 65 land transactions were required for the project, including two expropriations.

The higher cost also reflects the fact that contractor Emil Anderson Construction has been doing the work at night, a move necessitated by the fact that the highway is the main traffic artery through the city, with between 50,000 to 65,000 vehicles passing through the area of the construction zone every day.

“It didn’t make sense for us to work during the day, said Mike Jacobs, CEO of Emil Anderson Construction.

He said the hardest part of the work has been to deal with the underground utilities along the length of the route, including water, sewer, electricity and a host of others. In addition, overhead powerlines along the route have now been buried underground. Dulay said 70 per cent of the underground utility work has now been completed.

While this year’s harsher than normal winter made for a late restart to work earlier this month, Jacobs said it will not stop his crews from finishing the project on time.

The project will see Rutland Road realigned close to where it currently intersects with Sexsmith Road. Once complete, Rutland Road will run to Old Vernon Road instead, and there will be a roundabout built at the intersection. The realignment was necessary because the road currently intersects with Sexsmith too close to the highway.

Other changes motorists will see—in addition to the six lanes and new landscaping alongside the road— will be new traffic lights at the intersection of Highway 97 and Lloyd/Findlay Roads and Totem Road will be closed to the highway. Left turn lanes will also be lengthened at the major intersections along the improvement route.

Just Posted

Support needed for Vernon ALS Walk

Fundraiser on June 9 could be cancelled without more volunteers

Police investigating early evening robbery in Vernon

Suspect allegedly produced a knife and bound the employee’s hands and feet with packing tape

Vernon task force to address climate change

Local impact guidance sought by Vernon council

City unveils plan for new Landing park

Park to be located along several properties on Lakeshore Road

Registration opens for Okanagan Singer-Songwriter competition

Lake Country - The seventh annual competition auditions are held around the Okanagan

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

Team chaplain reflects on time with Silverbacks

Kenny Toews served as a mentor and spiritual leader to the team for six seasons

Drawings connect autistic student with the world

Leifen Mitchell-Banks creates colourful cartoon characters at Salmon Arm Secondary.

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

10 Safeways in Lower Mainland to close, union says

Locations in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Coquitlam, Richmond and Mission slated to shut

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

‘Miraculous that nobody was killed’

Tanker full of aviation fuel involved in Highway 3 crash

Most Read