September 16, 2014 - 11:08 AM
KELOWNA - A consulting firm was chosen recently by the province to carry out a three-year transportation study looking for the best way to get people across Okanagan Lake.
Delcan Corporation was selected by the B.C. Ministry of Transporation and Infrastucture to undertake the planning assignment. The study will cost $2 million.
Delcan will look at the transportation needs of the area and route options. They'll also look at preferred locations for a future alternate lake crossing and potential timing for any potential future projects.
The corporation is also looking to include local governments, First Nations and the public during input sessions, so they can have a say during the planning process and needs can be explored. These will include meetings with local governments and First Nations, open houses for public consultation and online opportunities for feedback. Formal consultation is expected to start later this winter.
Since 2001, more than $370 million in upgrades to the Highway 97 corridor in the Kelowna area have been undertaken to improve safety and mobility. The current lake crossing on Highway 97 was upgraded in 2008 which included the construction of the five-lane William R. Bennett Bridge.
When the William R. Bennett Bridge opened to traffic in 2008, it was estimated the bridge would serve the region's traffic needs for 25 years, based on extensive traffic analysis. Traffic counts on the bridge confirm this to still be the case. Starting the planning process now for a future second crossing will ensure the government can move forward when necessary.
Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested more than $600 million in upgrading highways, roads, bridges and transit in the Okanagan.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014