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Federal funds critical to TCH upgrade

Salmon Arm: Council hears timeline for upgrading work depends on cost-sharing.

The rate at which Trans-Canada Highway improvements west of Salmon Arm proceed will depend, in part, on the amount of money Ottawa injects into the project.

This is the message R.F. Birnie and Associate’s Dan Bella gave to City of Salmon Arm councillors when he provided an update on the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Highway 1 four-laning program.

Bella said the proposed schedules will depend on the outcome of current efforts to get a cost-sharing agreement with the federal government and archeological impact assessments. Currently it will be at least 2020 before the final phase of the project moves ahead.

Project manager for the Salmon Arm West portion, Bella provided a brief history of the province’s Kamloops to Alberta four-laning program that was initiated in 2012 with a commitment by the premier of $650 million over 10 years.

The Salmon Arm West portion includes six kilometres of four-laning, frontage roads, a four-lane bridge and interchange and intersection improvements.

Bella said the project is designed to improve safety, traffic flow and the movement of goods, at the same time improving access to local roads and businesses.

Increased safety for pedestrians and cyclists is also built into the plan.

Information gleaned through public consultation was also included in the design of the project, Bella said, noting improvements to the Salmon River Bridge, access to local roads and an interest in multi-use trails were identified by area businesses and residents, including First Nations.

The 6-km project will be constructed in three phases, beginning with First Avenue SW to 30th Street SW.

The design of this 1.5-km section of four-laning is 90 per cent complete and includes changes to the South Frontage Road alignment and the addition of an oxbow pond and turtle nesting area behind the Salmon River Motel site.

Preloading to compress and stabilize soft soils is scheduled to begin late this summer and grade and bridge construction will be tendered in spring 2017.

“We have acquired 13 of 19 properties required and contractors are taking out hazardous materials,” said Bella, noting a security fence was erected because people were going in and helping themselves to things. “Prior to demolition (of buildings), the company will co-ordinate with the fire department for search and rescue training purposes.”

The next section to be completed will be the portion between Walmart to the Shell Station at 10th Street. SW. The design for this two-km section is complete, ready for tender  and scheduled for construction in summer 2017.

Since last year’s open house, changes have been made to the location of a cul-de-sac on Fourth Avenue.

The Adams Lake Indian Band is providing input on the design through IR 7. Only two of 31 properties have so far been acquired.

“The third phase will be Neskonlith  IR 3 to First Avenue,” said Bella, noting meetings with the First Nations band have been ongoing for two years.

“The design of this 2.5-km portion is in early stages and needs land to be transferred from the band. It’s not scheduled until 2020.”

Following the presentation, Coun. Alan Harrison thanked Bella for “putting the pieces together” on the exciting project.

“The scope of this is dependent, but we’ve been given marching orders to keep going,” said Bella in  response to Harrison’s comment about the first phase being dependent on federal funding,