Construction Complete on Wider and Safer Highway 97A

SPALLUMCHEEN, BC, Nov. 10, 2011 /CNW/ - Construction to upgrade Highway 97A to four lanes near Armstrong is complete, improving safety along this important stretch of highway that serves communities between Vernon and Sicamous.

The completion was celebrated today by Okanagan-Shuswap Member of Parliament Colin Mayes, and Shuswap Member of the Legislative Assembly George Abbott, who attended on behalf of Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom.

"Our government is pleased to invest in projects that create jobs and improve infrastructure in our communities," said MP Mayes. "These important upgrades to Highway 97A will improve safety, reduce travel time and promote long-term economic growth in the region."

"We've moved to four lanes and improved the intersections along this corridor," said MLA Abbott. "With wider shoulders, a centre median, concrete roadside barriers and rumble strips, this will be a safer drive, and make a significant difference for residents and tourists alike."

Four kilometres of Highway 97A were widened to four lanes, from Pleasant Valley Cross Road to Lansdowne Road. At the Smith Road intersection, safety was improved with the construction of a protected "tee" intersection and northbound acceleration lane. Left turn bays and deceleration lanes were added or extended at five other key intersections along the route.

With this project complete, Highway 97A is now four lanes between Vernon and Armstrong.

"I am really pleased to see the completion of this project," said Township of Spallumcheen Mayor Will Hansma. "It will certainly enhance the safety at the Smith Drive and a number of other intersections that were of major concern to the Township. It is going to be a terrific benefit to the Township of Spallumcheen residents and vehicular traffic alike, with much improved access to Highway 97A. We are very appreciative of the support that the Ministry of Transportation has provided to the Township."

The project was valued at $20.2 million. The province invested $13.6 million, and the Government of Canada contributed $6.6 million through the Building Canada Fund. An estimated 125 direct jobs were created over the life of the project.

Highway 97A is an important route for trade and tourism. It links Highway 97 from the province's southern border to the Trans-Canada Highway at Sicamous. This work will help ensure goods can get to market, while improving safety for those who live on or along the corridor.

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to e-news at www.tc.gc.ca/e-news or stay connected through RSS, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr to keep up to date on the latest from Transport Canada.

This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons living with visual disabilities.

SOURCE Government of British Columbia

For further information:

Vanessa Schneider
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities, Ottawa
613-991-0700
Jeff Knight
Government Communications
and Public Engagement
Province of British Columbia
250-356-7707
Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-005


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