An underpass that would allow trail users to safely cross Highway 97 could cost around $210,000.
The 1.3-kilometre Bailey Road Connection, requested by the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, would link the Kal/Crystal Waters Trail above Kekuli Provincial Park to Bailey Road, west of the highway, using an existing wildlife and cattle underpass.
“This trail connection will provide pedestrians and cyclists with a safe crossing of Highway 97,” a report to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee reads ahead of the Oct. 7 Zoom meeting.
“It will provide connectivity between the Okanagan Rail Trail, Kekuli Provincial Park, Kal/Crystal Waters Trail, Predator Ridge Trails and Ellison Provincial Park.”
A permit from the transportation ministry to utilize the existing corridor was obtained and the Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) has agreed to allow a 20-metre Statutory Right of Way (SRW) through the BC Wildfire – Vernon Fire Zone property to connect outdoor enthusiasts to Bailey Road.
Next, the SRW would have to be registered to formalize the agreement.
The cost of registering is estimated at $10,000. The fee would be funded from the existing 2020 land acquisition budget, the report reads.
Construction costs are estimated at $200,000, the report reads. The construction phase would consist of the development of a 1.3 km, three-metre wide gravel pathway, a 4.5-metre extension of the existing underpass and an eight-foot wire fence along the west boundary of the SRW to keep trail users away from the BC Wildfire Suppression Operations and out of a nearby seed orchard.
The construction budget will be included with the 2021 Greater Vernon Trails and Natural Spaces capital budget deliberations, the report said.
The annual operating cost of the new pathway is estimated at $13,000.