The end is in sight for the revitalization of Kelowna’s main downtown street.
According to City Hall, the first layer of paving is underway on the final phase of the $14 million Bernard Avenue revitalization, which marks the completion of utilities and the commencement of streetscaping and landscaping work.
“It’s your last chance to walk in the middle of the road when walkways temporarily shift from next to the buildings onto the middle of the newly paved road for the final time,” says the city in a news release issued Friday.
The city is reminding residents businesses are open as usual and accessible with corridors from the centre of the road to each business entrance, minimizing disruption to pedestrians and business accesses, while allowing for the removal and reconstruction of the sidewalks.
“The water main and storm systems are now complete and we are looking forward to the sidewalk construction and proceeding to the final steps of the project,” said Bill Berry, design and construction services director.
“New trees, benches and the installation of the last light standards will complete the consistent look of Bernard Avenue from the Sails to the Gateway at Richter Street.”
The extensive improvements will see four lanes narrowed into two lanes and a centre turning lane, expanded outdoor retail and cafe space, wider sidewalks for pedestrians, street furniture, intersection plazas, landscaping and replacing of utilities.
Final paving, finishing work and permanent road markings of the previous phase between St. Paul Street and Ellis Street will occur this spring in conjunction with completion of the current phase between Ellis Street and Water Street, scheduled for June.
“If you haven’t seen the construction downtown you’ve got to stop by, visit your favourite business and check out how things are constructed before it’s all done,” said Berry. “It’s really an attraction in itself.”
Meanwhile, the Downtown Kelowna Association is running its Great-Big-Bernard-Giveaway contest, with a $500 prize drawn every three weeks, during the construction. Visit Downtownkelowna.com for more details.