Transit system working around West Kelowna overpass problems.

Local buses have been granted use of emergency lanes to help meet transit schedules.

Local officials say Kelowna Regional Transit is working with the Ministry of Transportation and BC Transit to do what it can to lighten the traffic load on Highway 97 following the collapse of a retaining wall under the new Westside Road overpass in West Kelowna.

Traffic delays caused by closure of a section of the highway under the overpass were at their worst worst during Monday’s afternoon rush hour and while some lanes on the highway have been reopened for this afternoon’s rush hour, Kelowna Regional Transit buses have been granted access to priority highway lanes reserved for emergency vehicle use, offering significantly speedier travel times between Kelowna and West Kelowna transit hubs.

Kelowna Regional Transit and BC Transit have measures in place to ensure regular service on the #21 Glenrosa route, the primary commuter route operating between West Kelowna and Kelowna, operates as close to schedule as possible.

“We continue to receive regular updates from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure about the status of lane restrictions and detours in the Westside Road area and we’re using all available resources to maintain transit reliability,” said Mike Kittmer, the City of Kelowna’s active transportation co-ordinator.

Commuters are urged to do what they can to lighten the traffic volume on Highway 97 by using transit, car pooling, adjusting work hours to avoid peak commute times or working from home when appropriate.

“We have put more buses into service, including shuttles, to do what we can to lessen delays on commuter routes during this time,” said Kittmer. “The volume of traffic will still cause some delays on the #21 as well as other commuter transit routes, but the priority access to highway lanes certainly makes a difference in commute times.”

To further help traffic flow more effectively, motorists are urged to obey traffic signals to avoid blocking intersections.

To find out more information about bus routes, visit bctransit.com/regions/kel for routes and schedules. To find car pool partners, visit carpool.ca.