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Ministry of Transportation reveals highway upgrade plans

Spencer King, the Ministry of Transportation
Spencer King, the Ministry of Transportation's senior project manager for a 4.6-kilometre upgrade of Highway 97 from Highway 33 to Edwards Road,introduces the preliminary designs at the Best Western Hotel and Suites on Wednesday evening.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith

Multiple roundabouts, six lanes and a new road behind the Comfort Inn mark the highlights of the $50 million highway upgrade lauded by the area MLAs as a way to expedite traffic and reduce traffic jams.

"This work will improve traffic flow at the northern entrance to the city, and make for more efficient and safer connections to UBCO, Quail Ridge, Rutland, Glenmore, Ellison, Lake Country and beyond for motorist, cyclist and transit users," said MLA Norm Letnick when the project was announced at the end of March.

Named as one of the top five priority infrastructure projects in the region, it served as good election fodder as the Christy Clark Liberals made their run into last spring's elections, Liberal MLAs Steve Thompson, Norm Letnick and Ben Stewart among them. All three were elected to office, though the new premier would take on Stewart's riding.

In the meantime, Ministry of Transportation staff have been hard at work figuring out how to move the 60,000 drivers who travel through the bottleneck on this section of highway in the most efficient way possible.

Their solution, thus far, includes a new roundabout just past the train tracks on Sexsmith Road before Adam's Court, needed to provide traffic coming from the industrial sector and the businesses behind Tim Horton's an access route to route back out to the highway.

Perhaps the biggest change occurs at Rutland Road, which will be realigned to meet with Acland Road at another roundabout intersection just up from Reid's Corner, an accident-prone intersection they're hoping to eliminate.

An open house is underway at the Best Western Hotel and Suites until 8 p.m. so Ministry of Transportation project manager Spencer King and his team can collect feedback from those who will be driving in the area.

Comments and questions can be directed to King at Spencer.King@gov.bc.ca

Twitter: jaswrites

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