The Transportation Ministry will unveil its plans for six-laning Highway 97 at an open house, 4-8 p.m. on Sept. 25 at the Best Western Conference Centre. The reason for the project from Highway 33 to Edwards Road was clear on Tuesday afternoon, above, and it wasn't even rush hour.
On March 27, provincial and federal politicians announced the $50-million widening project will be completed in three-and-a-half years, by the fall of 2016.
Intersections along the 4.5-kilometre, four-lane stretch will also be upgraded when construction begins next year. Specifically, the convoluted intersection of Highway 97, Rutland Road and Old Vernon Road will be realigned to
increase public safety and Highway 97 mobility, said project manager Spencer King.
Preliminary design work is underway and you can see the results from 4 to 8 p.m. during an information session/open house at the Best Western Conference Centre, 2402 Highway 97 N. Project staff will be on hand to provide more information and answer any questions.
The federal government is contributing
$18 million through its Building Canada Fund and the province $32 million. More than $1.3 billion has been invested in highway improvements in the Thompson-Okanagan since 2001, the province says.
"This work will improve traffic flow at the northern entrance to the city, and make for more efficient and safer connections to UBC Okanagan, Quail Ridge, Rutland, Glenmore, Ellison, Lake Country and beyond for motorists, cyclists and transit users," said Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick.
Businesses along this busy strip are pleased it will bring more customers, but surprised at the long time frame. Some say the six-laning of Highway 97 should continue on the Westside from Westside Road south to Westbank.
And some say the day will come when the existing six lanes from Highway 33 to the Bennett Bridge won't be enough since they are already busy most daylight hours.
The city has plans to continue the extension of four-lane Clement Avenue to UBC Okanagan and Kelowna International Airport, but it
doesn't have any provincial funding, yet.