A community hall just a few metres from a dangerous section of the Trans-Canada Highway in Tappen was the site of a federal funding announcement of $185 million for B.C. infrastructure projects.
Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development, announced six projects that will be sharing in the funding, one of which is improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway in Tappen. Work on the approximately 4.3-kilometre section of highway will receive $82,142,934.
“I know that accidents on Tappen’s section of Highway 1 have been an ongoing concern and has touched your community directly in recent years,” Jordan said.
According to the government, the project will expand and upgrade the stretch of highway between Ford Road and Tappen Valley Road from two to four lanes and consolidate highway access points through a new frontage road system. In addition, the highway bridge in Tappen is slated for replacement.
Speaking to the crowd assembled outside the Tappen Community Hall, Chief Oliver Arnouse of the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band (LSLIB) praised the work done to secure federal funding for the project which he said will have benefits for the band, both by employing its members and creating safer access for the community.
Ralph McBryan, a Tappen resident and LSLIB band member, also addressed the crowd and spoke of the deaths that occurred on that stretch of highway in previous years.
“Safe access and egress from our homes, this is important,” McBryan said.
Jordan said the highway upgrade is one project in a nationwide plan to build up rural communities like Tappen.
“Rural Canada is a key driver in our economic prosperity and we know that certain barriers exist for them to reach their full potential,” she said.
Along with Transportation and Infrastructure projects, Jordan said the rural economic development strategy will assist communities with better broadband access, more clean water sources and greater resilience to climate change and severe weather events.
“Safe, uncongested transportation routes keep people and goods moving smoothly and are essential to helping our businesses compete and improving people’s daily lives. These important upgrades will get people where they need to go safely and smoothly while supporting the regional economy,” Jordan added.
Other projects covered by the federal funding include: Highway 1 upgrades east of Revelstoke and near Golden, improvements to an intersection in Fort St. John and a new passing lane near the Village of Jaffray.