Westside Road interchange to benefit Kelowna area, Okanagan

WESTBANK, BC, July 13 /CNW Telbec/ - Construction of the Westside Road Interchange will begin in early August, announced Premier Gordon Campbell, Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond, and the Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, during a groundbreaking ceremony held at the construction site today.

"We're very happy to see this phase of the project getting underway," said Chief Louie. "The new interchange will provide lasting benefit not only to the region by reducing congestion and improving travel time along Highway 97, but also by improving access to our reserve lands."

"This project will create an estimated 250 jobs, helping Okanagan's economy while making our roads safer and more efficient," said Premier Campbell. "We're proud to work with our partners, the Westbank First Nation and the federal government, investing in the future of the Kelowna area, the Okanagan and the Pacific Gateway."

"Our government is pleased to join the Government of British Columbia and the Westbank First Nation in breaking ground for this important project," said Minister Day. "This work will improve traffic flow and the safety of commuters along this corridor."

Preliminary work for major works construction activities began in 2009. Now, the major works contract, worth $12.9 million, has been awarded to Ledcor CMI Ltd. Ledcor will be responsible for construction of the new grade-separated interchange at Westside Road and Highway 97, an underpass at Nancee Way and a new roundabout at the junction of Sneena and Westside roads. The new interchange will be complete and open for traffic in the fall of 2011 with completion of the underpass at Nancee Way scheduled for the fall of 2012.

Phase 1 of the project cost $4.5 million and included a network roads and utilities contract awarded to BC General Contracting in 2009, which is substantially complete. Approximately $23.5 million has been invested in engineering and design, property acquisition and project management costs.

"The Westside Road Interchange project is a continuation of the fantastic partnership the province enjoyed with the Westbank First Nation on the Campbell Road Interchange a couple of years ago," said Minister Bond. "On this project we both welcome federal government involvement to improve our infrastructure and also help create jobs and to keep people working in BC."

The project will be managed by the Westbank First Nation until its completion, at which time it will be turned over to the province. Funding for the project is being provided by the provincial and federal governments. The overall value of the project is $41 million. The investment by British Columbia is $30 million and the federal government investment is up to $11 million from the Building Canada Fund. Westbank First Nation is contributing land for the project.

"It's great to see this project moving forward, creating jobs and improving infrastructure to ensure safe and efficient travel along Highway 97," said Ben Stewart, Minister of Community and Rural Development and Westside-Kelowna MLA.

Since 2001, the province has invested almost $600 million in upgrading roads, highways, bridges and transit in the Okanagan.

Public information sessions will be scheduled this summer to provide more information about the project and the traffic pattern changes for Westside Road.

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the province's news feeds using RSS, visit the province's website at www.gov.bc.ca.

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

SOURCE Government of Canada

For further information: For further information: Dale Steeves, Office of the Premier of British Columbia, 250-387-6605; Dave Crebo, Public Affairs Bureau, British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, 250-387-7787; Evelyn Lube, Communications, Westside Road Interchange Project, 250-864-7395; James Kusie, Director of Issues Management and Parliamentary Affairs ,Office of Canada's Transport Minister John Baird, Ottawa, 613-991-0700; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, 613-993-0055

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