Ministry of Transportation senior project manager Rampaul Dulay.

Giving Kelowna drivers a wider berth

The $60-million project to widen part of Highway 97 through Kelowna is now 40 per cent complete.

The project to expand part of Highway 97 through Kelowna to six lanes is on time and on budget says the Ministry of Transportation.

And the 18-month construction project is slated to be complete before the end of the year.

Reporters were taken on a tour of the work on Wednesday—a 4.5 kilometre stretch between Highway 33 and Edwards Road—and senior project manager Rampaul Dulay said the work is now 40 per cent complete on the $60 million project.

Originally budgeted at $50 million, Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick said the final price tag jumped by $10 million due to required additional property acquisition, the discovery of aboriginal archaeological artifacts and design changes.

A total of 65 land transactions were required for the project, including two expropriations.

The higher cost also reflects the fact that contractor Emil Anderson Construction has been doing the work at night, a move necessitated by the fact that the highway is the main traffic artery through the city, with between 50,000 to 65,000 vehicles passing through the area of the construction zone every day.

“It didn’t make sense for us to work during the day, said Mike Jacobs, CEO of Emil Anderson Construction.

He said the hardest part of the work has been to deal with the underground utilities along the length of the route, including water, sewer, electricity and a host of others. In addition, overhead powerlines along the route have now been buried underground. Dulay said 70 per cent of the underground utility work has now been completed.

While this year’s harsher than normal winter made for a late restart to work earlier this month, Jacobs said it will not stop his crews from finishing the project on time.

The project will see Rutland Road realigned close to where it currently intersects with Sexsmith Road. Once complete, Rutland Road will run to Old Vernon Road instead, and there will be a roundabout built at the intersection. The realignment was necessary because the road currently intersects with Sexsmith too close to the highway.

Other changes motorists will see—in addition to the six lanes and new landscaping alongside the road— will be new traffic lights at the intersection of Highway 97 and Lloyd/Findlay Roads and Totem Road will be closed to the highway. Left turn lanes will also be lengthened at the major intersections along the improvement route.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Rose Valley Dam wildfire in West Kelowna knocked back on all flanks

The fire was first reported at around 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 2.

BC RCMP notify IIO BC of incident involving police dog in Kelowna

A suspect and a police dog were taken to receive medical treatment after an incident on Aug. 1.

Alberta man presumed to have drowned after cliff jumping in Peachland

Emergency responders began rescue efforts at around 2:40 p.m. on Aug. 1.

Sternwheelers once plied Okanagan Lake

Vessels once transported passengers and goods along the Okanagan Valley

Reported Big White wildfire dubbed ‘smoke chase’

Crews responded to the area but could not locate a fire

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Shuswap pet nutritionist, raw diet advocate to be featured in national magazine

Sicamous-based Deanna Larocque building reputation for canine support

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read