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Sneena Road underpass construction to commence next spring
A new underpass northwest of William R. Bennett Bridge could mean short-term pain and long-term gain for motorists.
Emil Anderson Construction Inc. was recently awarded a $9.3 million contract to build a two-lane underpass below Highway 97 at Sneena Road.
Since news broke of the Sneena Road underpass construction, some residents have questioned—via news comment forums—why another underpass is being constructed so close to the Westside Road overpass and Nancee Way underpass.
Evelyn Lube, Sneena Road project communications, said the project is necessary to fulfil a commitment between Westbank First Nation and the province for key accesses from the W.R. Bennett Bridge to the Highway 97 and Boucherie Road intersection
"To make that happen in the safest manner possible, and rather than having an intersection, there is an underpass," said Lube.
"There is no point in doing all this work and then putting in more signal lights."
During construction, all five lanes of Highway 97 traffic will be re-routed around the construction site; a reduced speed limit will likely accompany the detour.
"Just above the cemetery there's going to be a realignment of Highway 97 so we can accommodate the excavation and construction of the (underpass)," said Lube.
"Our objective will be to make sure traffic moves as efficiently as possible."
Lube added a traffic management plan for the Sneena Road project is forthcoming.
The work will begin in spring 2014 and is expected to be completed by fall 2014.
Lube said when the project is complete motorists will have an alternate route to the bridge, which is believed to be the extension of Sneena Road to connect Tomat Avenue with the Campbell Road interchange.
Future construction may also take place at the intersection of Boucherie Road and Highway 97; however, that work is in the preliminary stages.
"The (2005) agreement covers from the bridge to Boucherie Road.
"The Ministry of Transportation is doing some preliminary work on Boucherie Road…(including) data collection and a traffic count evaluation.
"That would be the last part of this agreement."
Lube said more information will be provided as the Sneena Road underpass construction start date draws nearer.