July 29, 2013 - 8:00 PM
KAMLOOPS – Another 10 kilometres of multi-million dollar highway is set to go from two lanes to four between Monte Creek and Hoffman's Bluff this year as two different projects were kicked off in political style today.
Provincial transportation minister Todd Stone and Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod were on hand for the official ground breaking ceremony.
The construction will mean increased congestion on the busy Trans-Canada Highway, but the goal of the improvements is highway safety.
“We're moving forward on these much anticipated safety improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway,” Stone said, “It's part of our commitment to continue upgrading the (highway) to four lanes between Kamloops and Alberta, to improve safety for all highway users.”
Local First Nations communities have also worked with the ministry to minimize impacts and preserve culturally significant sites during the construction of the highway.
“We are pleased with the work in developing a protocol for ancestral remains finds with government, and are encouraged by the direct involvement the Neskonlith community has had with the archaeological works.” Chief Judy Wilson said, adding the band is supportive of the safety improvements.
The project had previously been delayed because of the discovery of ancestral remains in several locations. Secwepemc bands worked to identify a significant burial site. The remains are to be placed deeper in the earth, at their current locations, to protect them from construction or any other interference.
Phase 1, a three kilometre section of highway between Monte Creek to Pritchard, was completed last year and phase two will see another 7.5 km stretch upgraded to four lanes as well as improvements to the interchange at Pritchard. The entire project comes with a price tag of $49 million and is expected to be complete by summer 2015.
The $19.3 million first phase of the stretch between Pritchard and Hoffman's Bluff will see 2.8 km of highway upgraded. Next year the remaining 3 km segment will go to tender.
Improvements to the Trans-Canada between Monte Creek and Hoffman's Bluff total $110.6 million. The costs will be shared between the provincial and federal governments. In total $650 million over ten years will be invested between Kamloops and Alberta.
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A historical First Nations burial site found near the site of planned Hwy 1 upgrades will be moved further into the ground to help protect the culture and heritage of the Secwepemc bands.
(JENNIFER STAHN /InfoTel Multimedia)
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013