Highway open house draws crowd

Proposed changes to TCH by Chase raise concerns

The community of Chase came out in full force this week to see what the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will be rolling out in terms of Trans-Canada Highway upgrades.

Five hundred and 40 people attended the ministry’s open house on Wednesday, Nov. 22, which ran from 3 to 7 p.m., packing the community hall.

“It shows how important it is to them,” remarked Chase Mayor Rick Berrigan.

The ministry has been working on plans to widen approximately 12 kilometres of highway from Hoffman’s Bluff to Jade Mountain.

Chase Creek Road to Chase West is the first phase, Chase West to Jade Mountain the second, and Hoffman’s Bluff to Chase Creek Road, the third. Chase West to Jade Mountain is the portion which stretches past the village and its current entrance points.

Related link: TCH east of Chase to be upgraded

Both city council and Chase RMP expressed concerns about the plans prior to the open house, particularly about access.

While the ministry has said it will be installing a median barrier and improving access to Chase, Sgt. Gary Heebner wrote in a letter to the mayor last month that “it is inconceivable from an emergency response perspective to only have one access to Highway 1…”

Following the open house, Berrigan said he wants to wait and hear what the community has to say about the design before he passes judgment. However, he says it appears to have flaws that will adversely affect the community, but it’s not all negative.

“The big issue for all of us is access and egress.”

The village expected to be sending out a survey Nov. 24 about the plans, he said, and would hope to have it complete by Dec. 10.

The ministry’s timeline regarding Chase West to Jade Mountain is as follows: 2017 – complete preliminary design; 2018 – complete functional design and hold community open house; 2019 – complete detailed design and property acquisition; 2020-tender project and start construction; and 2023 – complete construction.

The ministry has stated that input gathered will be used to further refine the project’s design. It is also accepting feedback forms by Dec. 10 that can be found online at gov.bc.ca/bchwy1-projects. They can also be mailed to Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, ATTN: Hoffman’s Bluff to Jade Mountain Project, 447 Columbia Street, Kamloops B.C., V2C 2T3.

Project information is available at: gov.bc.ca/bchwy1-projects

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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