Provincial road work this summer includes more repaving on Highway 3 - InfoNews

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Provincial road work this summer includes more repaving on Highway 3

Ministry of Tranportation and Infrastructure District Program Manager Steve Sirett and Operations Manager Jeff Wiseman talked to regional district directors about local roads and highways at today's board meeting, March 1, 2018.
March 01, 2018 - 5:00 PM

PENTICTON - Drivers in the South Okanagan won’t have any have any major provincal highway construction projects to contend with this summer. Other than some paving projects on Highway 3, there won't be any signifcant traffic disruptions on the provicial routes.

Intermittent paving of Highway 3 from Friday Creek to Princeton is anticipated, as well as sections between Hedley to Keremeos, Nighthawk to Osoyoos, Osoyoos to Chapman Road and sections of the four lane near Keremeos, according to an update presented to regional district directors by a Mininstry of Tranportation official today, March 1.

The Highway 3 sections are the largest projects on the books following the completion of paving projects on Highway 3A, Highway 97 and some rural side roads last fall, district program manager Steve Sirett says. That work included the addition of paved shoulders to Highway 3A in keeping with regional efforts to turn Penticton and the South Okanagan into a bicycling precinct.

Sirett says the ministry is currently in the midst of a four-year resurfacing program for the region, having spent $4.5 million on regional district roads over the past three years.

Board directors voiced road concerns from their respective electoral areas in a lengthy discussion.

Highways operations manager Jeff Wiseman told Princeton rural director Bob Coyne there were no plans to improve a section of Coalmont Road subject to frequent rockfalls, in spite of increasing complaints, noting the cost of such work had been estimated in the $10 to $15 million range.

Further improvements to Highway 97 between Summerland and Peachland are under review, West Bench Director Michael Brydon was told.

Sirett also noted a planned pedestrian walkway along Highway 97 between Trout Creek and Penticton had been paused since the change in provincial government.

A section of Smethurst Road from the gravel section at the Kettle Valley Rail Trail to the top of the road will be paved this year as well. The road is a popular access route to the KVR trail in the Naramata area.

A promise to pave 22 kilometres of Cawston secondary roads didn’t materialize last summer, probably due to a shift in priorities, Cawston director George Bush was told.

Bush also expressed dissatisfaction with road maintenance in his area, noting a decline in quality of service over the past few years.

Maintenance issues on Highway 3A were also voiced by Keremeos director Manfred Bauer, who also noted that stretch of highway’s large number of collisions. 

“This morning, there was no maintenance, period. Some semis didn’t make it up the hill, people were driving all over the place, you couldn’t see the lanes.That’s not the first time that’s happened,” he said.

Highways operations manager Jeff Wiseman said performance of road crews is monitored by his staff, who go out during storm events and monitor the contractor's performance. He says his staff look for proactivity, noting this time of year contractors should be out applying liquid chemical or salt prior to the weather event.

“I can’t speak to this morning’s conditions,” he said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 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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