The provincial government is committing another $45 million to improve Westside Road.
The road, dubbed the worst in B.C. in survey of driver done by BCAA a few years ago, has already had $10.3 million worth of improvements, said Premier Christy Clark, in making the announcement about the new money — to be spend over five years—in West Kelowna Friday.
“For too many years now Westside Road has been on the BCAA worst roads list and our government is going to fix that,” said Clark. “We made a commitment to improve safety and reliability on Westside Road, and we’re delivering.”
Friday’s announcement specifically involves two new construction projects that will start immediately, costing a total estimated cost of $10 million, said Clark.
Emil Anderson Construction Inc. of Kelowna has been awarded a contract for improvements from Waterfront Farm to Blue Grouse. That 800-metre section of Westside Road will be widened to have 3.6 metre-wide lanes with paved shoulders, roadside barrier and rockfall protection measures. Construction began in late last month and will be completed by the fall of 2015.
A second project at the north end of Westside Road will see an 8.7-kilometre section resurfaced between the Highway 97 junction and Skookum Mine Road, approximately 10 kilometres northwest of Vernon.
Okanagan Aggregates Ltd. of Armstrong won the contract for that project and work is scheduled to start within a few weeks and be finished by the end of the month.
This work builds on the $10.3 million previously invested in realignment, guardrail installation, resurfacing and construction of slow-moving pullouts on Westside Road since 2008.
Clark, whose Westside-Kelowna riding includes part of the road, said the improvements are needed for safety as far more traffic uses Westside Road than the road was built originally for. While she called it a “beautiful” road, she conceded driver often drive it too fast.
The announcement of more money to improve Westside Road was greeted with applause from the crowd on hand to hear it, including Okanagan West regional director Jim Edgson, who has long lobbied for improvements to the road.