Westside Road improving, but still among worst roads in province

It may not be the worst road in B.C., but Westside Road seems to once again be in the running for the infamous title.

For the second year in a row

It may not be the worst road in B.C., but Westside Road seems to once again be in the running for the infamous title.

The voting period has concluded in the British Columbia Automobile Association’s third annual “Worst Roads” survey.

As of May 23, Westside Road had the second most votes, trailing only BC Parkway (east of Joyce Street) in Vancouver.

Last year BCAA named Westside Road the worst road in the province, with 87 per cent of voters citing potholes and crumbling pavement as the biggest issue.

Niela Melanio, public affairs and media specialist for BCAA, said the official results for 2013 will likely be released next week.

She added the total number of tallies appears to be less than last year.

Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart said earning the undesired title in 2012 likely secured some extra funding for improvements.

“That survey helped (take) some resources that had been recovered from other savings and other programs,” said Stewart.

“We got $4.5 million into two fairly significant road improvement projects. I was lobbying hard to get some improvement projects, but the way it was going, we might’ve only gotten $1 or $2 million per year.”

Stewart said the $4.5 million, announced in 2012, has gone toward realignment and widening of two sections: Near Blue Grouse Road and at Cinnabar Creek.

He added a “significant paving contract,” which he wasn’t allowed to announce during the election, is also forthcoming on Westside Road. Stewart said that work is “over a couple million dollars.”

The Westside-Kelowna MLA admitted more work needs to be done, specifically some “big ticket items” that would likely involve digging into the hillside to widen the road.

“I’ll be satisfied when you can drive it 70 km/h safely to Vernon,” said Stewart.

Central Okanagan West Electoral Area director Jim Edgson has been a long-time advocate of improvements to Westside Road. He said he is grateful for recent upgrades.

“I have to compliment the Ministry of Transportation because they’ve put a fair amount of money into that road over the last year,” said Edgson.

Edgson isn’t concerned about the final results of the BCAA survey.

“I don’t really care if Westside Road is number one, number two or number three. I think it’s extremely important that the (improvement) plans that have come about, continue.”

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com