Costs to improve windy Kelowna road bloat

A few last minute tweaks to the plan to realign a portion of notoriously dangerous Kelowna road will boost its anticipated cost.

A few last minute tweaks to the plan to realign a portion of notoriously dangerous Kelowna road will boost its anticipated cost by around two-thirds.

City council agreed Tuesday to spend an extra $182,000 to smooth out a sharp corner of McKinley Landing Road. That amount will be tacked on to the original city contribution of $300,000 and $55,000 from ICBC, amounting to a project total of $537,000.

“We believe that this request to council will be enough to satisfy the requirements to complete the project in its entirely,” said Peter Truch, transport and mobility manager.

Among other things the extra dollars, which will come from the city’s rural road reserve, will be used to create a more comprehensive environmental monitoring plan for drinking water quality in the GEID McKinley Reservoir.

“With the environmental monitoring, one of the things that arose, that wasn’t envisioned, was that the rock we’re blasting away and filling the reservoir with has to be washed,” explained Truch.

Also there was an additional concrete barrier that wasn’t envisioned in the preliminary planning stage, but during a safety audit a need for it became clear.

Finally, things like the HST and a rising cost for construction also put upward pressure on the total.

Improvements to McKinley Road were requested after Kamloops’ woman died as a result of driving her car into the McKinley Reservoir last December.

There have been three  accidents on the road since 2008, including one last December where a young woman drowned after her car left the road and ended up in the water.

Initially the call for change it elicited wasn’t well received by city staff. They noted that  there hadn’t been any incidents where vehicles left the road and ended up in the water between 1996 and 2008.

With some political pressure, however, staff started to look at ways to improve the road.

The $537,000 plan includes blasting rock to fill up a portion of the reservoir. It will support a less windy realignment of the road and some concrete barriers barriers.

The tendering process will get underway this month, and Truch said he expects  construction will take place in the fall, when the water level is lowest.

Kelowna Capital News