Norm Letnick compares the Highway 97 upgrade between Winfield and Oyama to an iceberg, as the vast majority of work is done behind the scenes.
“I still can’t think of a more appropriate analogy,” said the Kelowna-Lake Country MLA in a news release updating the status of the long-awaited road construction project.
The project involves constructing a nine-kilometre four-lane highway west of the existing two-lane section of Highway 97.
Construction of the new highway began on May 28, 2011, and is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2013.
As of May, total construction is almost halfway completed as drilling, blasting, excavations and embankment construction is underway.
The scope of this project is vast, and has involved huge amounts of material, says Letnick.
“More than one million cubic metres of material have been excavated, moved and placed in embankments to date, which represents approximately 50 per cent of the total quantities on this project,” he said.
“That includes about 470,000 cubic metres of rock and 600,000 cubic metres of soils.”
He said construction on several of the overpasses is underway.
The Gatzke Road overpass is about 60 per cent complete; the Woods Lake overpass is about 40 per cent complete; and the recreational underpasses for Old Mission Road and Lake Country access are 80 per cent complete.
The $40.83 million construction contract was awarded to Nanaimo’s Windley Contracting March 25, 2011.
The overall project budget is $77.9 million, with a $33.6 million contribution from the federal government.