Highway 97 changes could alter nature of Peachland

Hundreds of Peachland residents turned out to see what was offered by the Ministry, as the highway has become a hot button issue

Five bypass options and a number of upgrades to the current course of Highway 97 were presented Monday to Peachland residents.

The Ministry of Transportation mapped out bypass routes that range from 10 to 15 kilometres in length, and are vastly different from each other in their potential impact on established neighbourhoods.

One route, for example, was drawn through long-established residential area off Princeton Avenue below Vernon Avenue.

Others went over steep terrain, although were less impactful on currently developed areas.

Changes to the current highway configuration were also thoroughly addressed in provincial materials, and they included additional turning lanes, interchanges and reconfigured signal lights.

“Any option on the existing corridor needs to address the future traffic demand and allow for easy turning on and off the highway,” reads the document offered to attendees. “The options have been developed to balance the highway traffic moment and safety needs with providing important connections within Peachland for all modes of travel.”

Hundreds of Peachland residents turned out to see what was offered by the Ministry, as the highway has become a hot button issue in the community of 5,100.

Some have argued that widening the highway is the better course of action as it would be cheaper and less environmentally invasive than constructing a new road in the hills above the town.

The Highway 97 Task force argues that the highway has been described as a major north-south transportation corridor and trade route between Canada and the United States.

Given increased trade. population growth projections and developmental pressures, improvements must be made to the highway to keep up with increased volumes of traffic.