Letter: Finding another lane on Bennett bridge

Kelowna letter writer has an idea how to help traffic congestion

Letter: Finding another lane on Bennett bridge

To the editor:

I concur with Alistair Waters recent column on east bound bridge traffic, as I see the line up coming into Kelowna every morning as I head to the westside, quite often it’s well past Boucherie lights. I have seen it lined up as far out as Bartley Road if there is an accident. Gary Athans also wrote with an idea to help solve the problem, basically going back to the light system and alternating lanes like we had on the old bridge, which is a good idea as well, but a step backward into the past.

Related: Vehicle obsession, not bridge, is the problem

I think there is a better idea though, as we already have a third lane coming into Kelowna on the bridge. The existing third lane is currently being used as an over sized sidewalk for pedestrians on the bridge that maybe 100 people, if that, use a day. My idea would be to use this extra lane for vehicle traffic, by just removing the concrete barriers and adding traffic lines, and build a new aluminum frame grated floor sidewalk that would be attached to the outside of the bridge.

You see this type of sidewalk on bridges all over the world, the grated floor would allow rain and snow to pass right through it and the aluminum would never rust or need to be painted. There would have to be an extra traffic lane added on the right side up bridge hill and the building pinch at Abbott Street would have to be removed. This building is far to close to the highway anyway and would never be allowed to be built there now under current set back standards. This property should be expropriated by the City of Kelowna now, to allow a third lane on the highway. A new building could be built elsewhere or sideways on that lot for the residents to have brand new suites.

Then, imagine, we would have a proper three lane flow of traffic on both sides of the bridge as it should have been in the first place. Thousands of people would be utilizing that third lane a day instead of only a hundred. If we had this additional lane on the bridge, and extended the Clement 4 lane corridor out around Dilworth Mountain to near the airport, we would take a lot of pressure and vehicles off the highway. The Clement 4 lane corridor will happen in the future, the problem is we need it now. The third lane idea as outlined above would be, by far, less expensive and more efficient than any other option, and will extend the timeline substantially before a second crossing is needed.

Gord Hammond, Kelowna