Work will begin the next few weeks on a controversial highway upgrade, north of Vernon.
The changes will convert Stickle Road at Highway 97 to a left-in, right-in and right-out intersection, eliminating left hand turns from Stickle onto the highway.
The work will also lengthen the northbound and southbound left-turn lanes on the highway, and add right-turn acceleration and deceleration lanes at the east and west approaches.
Okanagan Aggregates of Armstrong has been awarded the contract, with work to conclude this fall.
Steve Sirett, Associate District Manager with the Transportation Ministry, says traffic disruptions should be minimal.
“The work will happen during the night time, so two lanes will be required to be open during the day, so there could be minor delays, but nothing substantial,” Sirett tells Beach Radio News.
Sirett says work to extend 20th Street to Stickle Road won’t be done until 2019, due to soil settlement, meaning Pleasant Valley Road will be one option for southbound vehicles travelling to Vernon until then.
“Significant environmental work was completed along the 20th Street extension ahead of construction, including relocation of fish and amphibian habitats in BX Creek,” says a Ministry release. “The ministry is also working with Ducks Unlimited to develop a new wetland habitat (by Swan Lake) that is three times the size of the one that will be affected by the project.”
The project cost is now 15 million dollars — up from the earlier 9.5 million estimate.
“We tendered the project, and the cost came in higher than we were expecting, so we’ve had to adjust the budget accordingly with those increases. And that goes for this phase (Stickle Road) and the 20th Street phase,” says Sirett.
The project has been under discussion since 2015, and took three plans by the ministry with the first two rejected by local politician and residents.
While most people have called for a traffic light there, the ministry has rejected that from the start, saying it would disrupt traffic flow and cause more fender bender crashes in that area.