Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick

Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick

New Coldstream route drives ahead

Traffic patterns have evolved for Coldstream motorists.

Traffic patterns have evolved for Coldstream motorists.

No longer will residents have to navigate Kickwillie Loop and narrow Westkal Road as the new $9 million College Way extension opened Tuesday.

“It will be convenient for people who work in Kelowna and it draws the college into the Coldstream community more,” said Mayor Jim Garlick.

The route also includes a multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians.

Over the years, Westkal Road has been the primary route to Highway 97 and facilities like the landfill for most Coldstream residents.

“It’s been serving as a collector road and it was never intended for that,” said Garlick.

Besides the volume of traffic, Westkal Road residents were concerned about speeding vehicles and the lack of room for pedestrians to walk.

“We were fearful of bad accidents,” said resident Paul Christie.

Christie is confident the College Way extension will reduce traffic on Westkal and he is pushing for the speed bumps to remain and sidewalks to be installed.

“I’d like to see it become a nice country lane,” he said.

The new road, which connects Kalamalka Road to the existing College Way, has been under construction since July 2010.

Completion was delayed slightly because of challenges that arose from working around the railway tracks and Vernon Creek.

“There are still a few things to complete like hydro-seeding the hillside, which can’t be done in the summer, and there are signs and fencing to put up,” said Michael Stamhuis, Coldstream’s chief administrative officer.

Signs will notify motorists of the change in traffic patterns and primarily the traffic light on Kalamalka Road at College Way and Husband Road.

This will be the first traffic light that falls under the jurisdiction of the Coldstream municipality.

“The light should work fine and it should help people coming off Husband Road. At times there were getting to be long lines (going on to Kalamalka Road),” said Garlick.

Funding for the College Way extension came from the federal and provincial governments and Coldstream.

Garlick says the involvement of senior jurisdictions allowed the project to proceed after being on the books for decades.

“The timing was right,” he said of Ottawa and Victoria using grants to stimulate the economy.