Three possible routes for a new highway bypass around Peachland will be unveiled soon.
And preliminary cost estimates for the bypass alternatives, as well as the expense involved in widening the existing highway, will be presented at the eagerly awaited meeting.
“The bypass routing alternatives, that’s what everybody wants to see,” Peter Warner of the Peachland Highway 97 Task Force, said Wednesday.
Many townsfolk favour a bypass as a way of diverting through traffic away from central Peachland and creating a calmer environment.
But others dismiss the idea of a bypass as unjustifiably expensive and say many businesses would suffer if highway traffic was diverted.
A big crowd is certain for an open house hosted by the Ministry of Transportation, expected to be held within a few weeks.
“It’s probably going to be a pretty hot meeting,” said Bert Put, a Peachlander who is on a government-created committee studying the transportation alternatives.
About one in five Peachland residents is a signed-up member of the pro-bypass task force. However, those favouring improving the existing two-lane highway have gathered hundreds of names on petitions placed at local businesses.
The eventual decision on a bypass versus a highway-widening project won’t just be a financial consideration, ministry officials have said at the two open houses already held as part of the transportation study.
Other considerations will be wildlife and environmental damage, the effect on driving times and trucking costs, business and tourism repercussions, noise and social impact.
Ministry officials have also said crash rates and traffic volumes on the current highway are not remarkable, and that any option — widening the existing highway or building a bypass — probably wouldn’t be undertaken for up to 10 years.