Four lane highway from West Kelowna to Penticton should be priority

Directors want four lanes on Highway 97 from West Kelowna to Penticton

Enhancing Highway 97 to four lanes from West Kelowna to Penticton should be a priority, according to the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

Directors from the RDOS plan to bring a request that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure investigate a broader transportation strategy for the Okanagan and the twinning Highway 97 gets completed during the upcoming Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

Regional district chair Karla Kozakevich said the idea to bring the issue to UBCM received full board support.

“Anytime we can four-lane is a huge benefit. It gets people moving quicker, if there’s an accident it might take up the one lane, but you can still have flow going with the other three lanes. Of course, it’s a huge benefit, but it’s also very costly to the ministry every time they go to expand the road. We have issues with a lot of the rural roads being in rough condition that I’d like to see money be spent on as well,” she said following the board’s Thursday meeting.

The UBCM convention provides an opportunity for local government delegates to discuss issues and initiatives with cabinet ministers and provincial staff.

In the draft briefing notes in the RDOS agenda for Aug. 2, it states that the Coquihalla was originally built to enhance regional tourism and to lighten traffic on the busy trucking routes but it has changed the pattern of growth in the Okanagan Valley over time.

Related: Informal count shows big increase in traffic through Peachland

Highway 97 north of the Coquihalla to Kelowna is already four lanes and directors want the southern portion of the highway to match that. Improvements to the highway were made in 2008 but there are still sections that remain single-lane. The RDOS believes that this influences economic growth, traffic patterns and quality of life.

The inquiry of four-laning comes as the Ministry of Transportation is undertaking a Highway 97 -Peachland transportation study to examine how to move traffic through Peachland.

Related: Westside residents don’t want a highway through their forests

“Initial results show that Peachland’s population growth has not kept pace with the Central Okanagan or B.C. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen would suggest that this narrow of a study is somewhat myopic by the government and that they should be interested in looking at how to most efficiently move traffic from the border to the Coquihalla, not just through Peachland,” said the notes in the RDOS agenda. “As the regional hub for the South Okanagan – Similkameen, the growth patterns of Penticton vs. Kelowna would appear even more significant that the Peachland statistics.”

Among the other draft priorities the RDOS has are receiving clarity from the ministry in regards to cannabis production in the Agricultural Land Reserve, curbside collection of beverage containers and the process how medical first response calls are dispatched to local fire departments.

The 2018 Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) convention will be held in Whistler from Sept. 10-14.


Kristi Patton | Editor

KristiPatton

Send Kristi Patton an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Salmon Arm Silverbacks take it to overtime against Wenatchee Wild

Silverbacks earn a point, even the gap in 4-3 OT loss

Yellow Vest movement rallied in Vernon Saturday

Protesters took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday.

Agreement to purchase property for Salmon Arm Landfill extended

CSRD has six months to get Ministry of Environment approval and city rezoning

City administrator honoured for 20 years of service

Carl Bannister’s career with Salmon Arm begins with evacuation

Avalanche control scheduled tomorrow on Highway 1 east of Revelstoke

Avalanche control work is scheduled along Highway 1 on Dec 15. From… Continue reading

Yellow Vest movement rallied in Vernon Saturday

Protesters took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday.

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Salmon Arm Tennis Club’s indoor facility moving at smooth clip

Volunteer support has been crucial, opening expected in April 2019.

Yellow Vest movement rallied in Vernon Saturday

Protesters took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday.

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Farm Market owner believes fresh is best

Brad DeMille travels to California to bring another 8,000 pounds of satsumas to the Shuswap

Salmon Arm business to provide fresh greens year round

Area residents invited to participate in test market to help develop signature salad mix

Most Read