Track removal nears completion along site of future Okanagan Rail Trail | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Track removal nears completion along site of future Okanagan Rail Trail

A pile of ripped up rails at the Hardy Road level crossing in Kelowna.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
October 17, 2016 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA – The City of Kelowna is reminding residents that the Okanagan Rail Corridor will remain closed to the public this fall while work crews finish pulling ties and removing natural hazards.

Project leader Andrew Gibb says the track and ties should be completely removed between Kelowna and Vernon by the end of next month, adding until the project is finished trespassing remains strictly prohibited.

The 48-kilometre trail was purchased from CN Rail in 2015 after Kelowna Pacific Railway, which was subletting the line, went out of business in 2014.

The last real hurdle to the $50-million purchase of the 47.5 kilometre CN Rail corridor was removed June 1 in B.C. Supreme Court where an injunction sought by the Okanagan Indian Band blocking the sale was denied and fundraising has been taking place ever since.

Construction is not expected to begin until 2017 after all possible geotechnical hazards have been determined and environmental remediation completed.

There may be intermittent road closures at certain crossings until early November, according to a media release from the City of Kelowna. Signage has been posted at various accesses in Kelowna, the District of Lake Country and the Regional District of North Okanagan.

“With the first funding threshold reached, a design-build plan for the trail has begun, as well as access control designs,” the release says. “The Okanagan Rail Corridor inside the Kelowna municipal boundary is a closed and undeveloped trail with uneven surface and natural hazards that may cause serious injury. Active construction is occurring in some areas and should be avoided.”

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