Letnick: Winfield-Oyama highway upgrade project progressing

As work progresses, and we get nearer to completion, I’m starting to rethink my iceberg analogy.

In my last two quarterly construction updates, I compared the Winfield-Oyama highway upgrading project to an iceberg, because the vast majority of work is behind the scenes.

But as work progresses, and we get nearer to completion, I’m starting to rethink that analogy.

Perhaps a more apt analogy would be a much-anticipated vacation.

I wrote that “nobody enjoys traffic delays due to construction, but hopefully that frustration is eased if you know more about the project and its progress.”

Just like you probably can’t help but daydream about your next vacation from time to time, you can probably start to imagine the benefits of the highway project: faster and safer travel for commuters, residents, and tourists alike.

The Winfield-Oyama project involves constructing a nine-kilometre four-lane highway west of the existing two-lane section of Highway 97 between Winfield and Oyama.

The construction commenced on May 28, 2011, and is (still!) scheduled to be completed in summer 2013.

I’m pleased to report that as of September 2012, total construction is approximately 60 per cent complete. The project is both on schedule and on budget.

Since my last update, you may have noticed the Gatke Road Overpass is near completion, about 95 per cent done.

Also nearing completion is construction of two recreational steel underpasses for Old Mission Road and Lake Country Access, also approximately 95 per cent complete.

The Woods Lake Overpass is not far behind, approximately 75 per cent completed.

Since the project began, approximately 650,000 cubic metres of rock and 660,000 cubic metres of soils have been excavated.

More than 1,300,000 cubic metres of material have been excavated, moved and placed in embankments to date—approximately 80 per cent of the total quantities on this project.

Work will continue on those over- and underpasses until complete, as well as drilling, blasting, excavations, embankment construction, and placement of base gravels.

As you may recall, the $40.83-million construction contract was awarded to Nanaimo’s Windley Contracting (2010) Ltd. on March 25, 2011.

The overall project budget is $77.9 million, with a $33.6 million contribution from the federal government of Canada under the Building Canada Plan.

As always, if you have any questions or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me via my constituency office, or on Facebook or Twitter.

Norm Letnick is the MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country and Minister of Agriculture.