$57 million extension of Clement Ave just one of many potential projects for Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna News

$57 million extension of Clement Ave just one of many potential projects for Kelowna

Proposed Clement Extension.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

The dream of a second crossing over Okanagan Lake is almost dead.

Projected in 2006 to cost $700 million with freeway bypasses of parts of West Kelowna and Kelowna, it’s now estimated to cost more than $1 billion with the province showing no interest in another bridge.

A more affordable option would be to spend an estimated $57 million to build a four-lane roadway to connect Clement Avenue to Highway 33, Kelowna city council was told yesterday, Oct. 28.

While that’s a lot of money and could only be built with federal and provincial government support, it’s only one of the major road projects being looked at by the city and province.

“We have over 700 projects in total,” Rafael Villarreal, the city’s integrated transportation department manager told iNFOnews.ca today. “If we put all the numbers together, we’re talking billions of dollars.”

The so-called Clement Extension was presented to councillors as an update because it’s one of the biggest and more difficult projects being studied.

Others include the “Gateway” area around UBCO and Kelowna Airport. That could include overpasses at a cost of $40 to $60 million each, and extensions of Bullman Road to the Airport and Hollywood Road to UBCO.

Villarreal hopes to have a more complete outline of major projects with “high level” costs to council within three weeks. If he can’t get it done by then, the report will go to council early in January.

But, given the cost uncertainty of the Clement Extension, any cost projections will be only rough estimates.

The rights of way for the Clement Extension are already in place since it will basically follow the Rail Trail from Spall Road to Highway 33 if it does get built. Another $1.1 million is all that’s needed to secure land to extend the new road as far as McCurdy Road. No cost estimate on building that section was provided.

The $57 million includes traffic signals where the road would cross Dilworth Drive and Enterprise Way. There will be room for overpasses it can be turned into a six-lane freeway in the future, if needed.

The cost could go down if roundabouts are built instead of intersections, Villarreal said. Or they could go up depending on the environmental mitigation needed to go through or around wetlands.

There would be major noise impacts on the Rail Trail and it’s questionable that it would provide much traffic relief on the main routes through the “hourglass” between Mission Creek and Dilworth Mountain.

The new route, if built, is expected to cut traffic flows on Enterprise Way by about 28 per cent and also reduce congestion on Harvey Avenue (Highway 97) and Springfield Road by about seven per cent.

But, once built, it’s likely to simply draw more traffic to the area and only Enterprise Way will see much reduction in traffic.

“Harvey and Springfield would remain busy roads near or at capacity following construction of the Highway 33 Extension,” Villarreal told council Monday. “In a scenario where driving through midtown becomes easier, more trips are drawn to this area.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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