West Kelowna residents may feel like they’ve entered a time machine.
In early November, 2011, work began on the Nancee Way underpass: The final piece of the $41 million Westside Road Interchange Project.
But the collapse of a retaining wall on the Westside Road overpass and four months of repairs has seemingly brought crews back to square one.
On Monday, the Westside Road overpass was reopened to the public.
Evelyn Lube, project communications director for the Westside Road Interchange Project said that work to the Nancee Way underpass will begin this week.
“We should see the remaining asphalt on the highway start to be excavated. Now that the repairs have been substantially completed, the contractor can focus on (the underpass),” said Lube.
The Westside Road Interchange Project website still indicates that the entire project is likely to be done by June, 2012; however, that seems unlikely, given the four month delay to work on the Nancee Way underpass.
“The contractor has focused their work on getting the repairs done. Now that those repairs are done, we will be pressing the contractor to complete their updated repair schedule.
“At this point, we’re not aware of any additional time that might be required. We understand from our contractor that they’re on board for a fall 2012 completion, but we’re still waiting for the final details of that.”
After the embarrassing result of the Westside Road overpass failure, Lube said that the contractor will “certainly” be taking measures to ensure that a similar result doesn’t happen to the Nancee Way underpass.
“Now that we’ve had this failure, there is attention on making sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
Lube noted that during the repairs to retaining walls on the Westside Road overpass, all of the failed rebar was replaced. The new rebar was tested and inspected to ensure that it is safe.
Although the Westside Road overpass is fully functional, there are still only two lanes of traffic flowing under the overpass in either direction. This is likely to be the case until early April.
“Two lanes each way will be in place for the next few weeks. Once they have the excavation done on the highway . . . then they’ll be able to extend that third lane.”
Minor repair work, which “doesn’t affect the safety of the structure” is still being done to the Westside Road overpass. Lube said that work should be done in the next couple of weeks as well.
In the coming days, traffic will be realigned to how it was before the overpass failure in November. That realignment will be in effect until work to the underpass is complete.