Work on the Highway 97-Stickle Road upgrade north of Vernon, will begin next week.
Steve Sirette, associate district manager for Okanagan Shuswap with the Transportation Ministry, says the first part will involve the 20th Street connection through BX Creek Delta Park.
“So that involves putting some preload down to prepare the land for road construction. We’re scheduled to start that work next week, after the long weekend, and that will carry on into the fall,” Sirette tells Kiss FM.
Sirette says tenders for the whole project came in high, so they decided not to award the contract, and proceed with the 20th Street connection using day labour under ministry management.
The highway portion of the project will be re-tendered this fall.
Sirette says it could take up to two years for the preload material is actually ready to construct the 20th Street extension.
“It really depends on how the ground reacts to the preload, so it’s not an exact date. It’s something we would continually monitor over a period of time.”
He says despite the recent change of BC government, the ministry remains committed to improving the safety of the Highway 97-Stickle Rd intersection.
“So that’s what we’ll be moving forward with,” says Sirette.
The new Transportation Minister, Claire Travena, was not made available to Kiss FM for an interview on the issue.
A local environmental group, SENS, held a protest last weekend over using the wetland for the extension.
A ministry release issued Friday says the first phase of construction will require replacing the existing boardwalk off the 20th Street cul-de-sac with a temporary gravel pathway that will tie into the existing boardwalk on the west side of the planned 20th Street extension. The new gravel pathway will be available before the existing boardwalk is removed.
“The ministry is committed to addressing environmental impacts during the construction of this project,” says the release. “A comprehensive environmental management plan has been completed and all necessary environmental approvals are in place. Mitigative and offsetting measures will include re-vegetation and erosion control, building new wetland habitat and having an environmental monitor on site when work is being done in sensitive areas.”
Fencing and signs will be in place to direct pedestrians onto the pathway.