Spallumcheen’s top transportation issue is now on the province’s to-do list.
For 10 years, the township has been requesting that Highway 97A from the McLeod Road intersection north to Enderby be made four lanes.
At a meeting in Vernon last week with North Okanagan municipalities, ministry of transportation officials confirmed to Spallumcheen officials that four-laning that stretch of the highway is now in the short-term plans of the ministry.
“Hopefully we’ll see some action on that very quickly,” said Coun. Joe Van Tienhoven, who represented the township at the meeting along with Coun. Christine Fraser and public works manager Ed Forslund.
The municipalities were told to bring their top three concerns to the meeting. Improving safety at McLeod Road also ties in with the four-laning of the highway.
“They just said the four-lane is a short-term priority along with our proposed fixed for McLeod Road,” said Fraser.
“It’s the first time the ministry has publicly said it’s in short term. It’s huge for us.”
Spallumcheen’s other top-two transportation priorities are making improvements at Highway 97A and Pleasant Valley Road to safely accommodate high traffic volumes and turning movements, which is attributed to access to and from the township’s industrial park and being a secondary route into the City of Armstrong.
The third priority is making access and intersection improvements to Highways 97 and 97A including those to be identified in the township’s transportation plan which is being prepared with ministry of transportation input.
“One of the things we were told was to make sure projects are shelf-ready, ready to go,” said Fraser.
“The province will give priority to those.”
The provincial government is developing a 10-year transportation plan and is ready to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in road infrastructure.
Council gave administrator Corey Paiement direction in filling out a transportation plan online survey with questions pertaining to moving people and goods safely and reliably, growing the economy and connecting and strengthening communities.
There were 10 questions in total with five answers per question, ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.
The township strongly agrees to keeping highways, bridges and roads in good condition and to continue expanding and improving highway capacity, bridges and side roads.
It also strongly agreed with supporting regional and community airports, improving and increasing transit services, enhancing cycling infrastructure and improving transportation choices and strengthening B.C.’s trucking sector.
The township somewhat agreed with supporting increasing trade with Asia and around the world and strengthening the province’s aviation sector.