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RapidBus: Westbank Centre detours to last nearly 5 months

Part of Emil Anderson Construction Inc.
Part of Emil Anderson Construction Inc.'s traffic management plan for construction on Elliott Road.
— image credit: Contributed

Motorists will no longer be able to access the piece of Elliott Road, which connects Main Street and Dobbin Road, in a couple of weeks.

The closure is due to the construction of the Westbank Centre RapidBus exchange, prior to the service coming to West Kelowna in September.

"I can't sugarcoat this, it's going to be disruptive," said Rory Kulmala, manager of fixed asset construction with BC Transit.

"That's the nature of this type of project."

The construction, which beings Feb. 24 and is expected to last until mid July, will detour motorists onto either Hebert Road or Brown Road to cross the couplet.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater said he's particularly concerned about how the construction will affect traffic on nearby roads.

"At certain times of the day, Brown Road, going south, coming from Main to basically go to the shopping centre, is already backed up from light to light," said Findlater.

"I'm just anticipating (we) might actually see traffic back up on the highway, waiting to turn left, to go to Brown."

Coun. Rick de Jong noted the construction will likely have a "major impact" on parents of children who attend École George Pringle Elementary, as well.

Emil Anderson Construction Inc.'s traffic management plan also shows one lane of Main Street expected to be blocked off during nighttime hours. Hours of that specific closure will be determined by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Kulmala said BC Transit is "making every effort" to try to identify what the challenges might be.

Another road closure will take place on Westgate Road, from Ross Road to the entrance of Super 8.

That closure is being done to accommodate construction of the Boucherie Mountain exchange. Substantial completion on that construction is expected to be completed by July 9.

One major highlight of the RapidBus project is a new, initially unplanned exchange at Westlake Road.

BC Transit senior traffic planner Matthew Boyd said the stop will be convenient for those working near West Kelowna's industrial area.

"There was originally only supposed to be four RapidBus stations on the Westside: Westbank (Centre), Butt Road, Boucherie (Mountain) and Westside (Road)," said Boyd.

"But there was some additional opportunity to add another stop on the Westside."

Kulmala explained that opportunity came when BC Transit identified a surplus in the budget for the project.

"Our overall budget was just over $44 million. We're tracking just under $39 million, and through that, the funding was available," said Kulmala.

"This was the clearest opportunity we had for improving the service."

Coun. Rick de Jong said he was happy with the addition of the Westlake Road exchange.

"One of the concerns we heard, with our industrial roundtable down in that district, was concern with the bus service," said de Jong.

"I'm quite thrilled that we have a little extra money and can put these two stops in."

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

Twitter: @PatersonWade

 

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