By Cam Fortems
Kamloops This Week
Local federal and provincial politicians converged on a section of the Trans-Canada Highway on Friday, July 24 to confirm funding of about $95 million to complete four-laning from Kamloops to Chase.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone said the announcement is a culmination of more than a decade of construction and planning.
“It’s a huge amount of money —$95 million,” he said.
The bulk of it, $76 million, comes from the province.
The first construction phase is from the east end of Hoffman’s Bluff, which is under reconstruction now, through to Chase Creek Road. The second phase will see four-laning through to the Petro-Canada station on the highway at the west end of Chase.
Stone said the next year will be spent in engineering, archeology and environmental study. There will also be community-engagement meetings.
He hopes construction can begin late next year or early in 2017 on the next stage, east of Hoffman’s Bluff, with the second and final phase through to Chase done within five years.
When it is complete, it will represent 24 kilometres of four-lane pavement from the Monte Creek interchange to Chase at a cost of about $205 million for a project first announced nearly a decade ago.
The project was on hold for years after First Nations skeletal remains were found by archaeologists working for the province in 2009. Soon after coming to office as transportation minister in 2013, however, Stone paved the way for an agreement to resume construction and planning. Friday’s announcement is the latest in a string of pledges and construction contracts since.
Completion of the project is part of the province’s 10-year transportation plan.
The federal government’s $18.3-million contribution comes from the New Building Canada infrastructure fund.