The replacement of the Malakwa Bridge is expected to begin in August and be complete by the summer of 2016.
Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo and Okanagan Shuswap MP Colin Mayes were in Malakwa Friday to formally update the public on the proposed project that would see the existing 60-year-old, two-lane bridge along the Trans-Canada Highway replaced with a four-lane structure, so as to improve highway safety and traffic flow.
The project, some 30 kilometres east of Sicamous, will also involve widening 2.3 kilometres of the adjacent highway to four lanes and would include a paved median with a 2.6-metre-wide barrier.
Tybo Contracting Ltd. of Langley B.C. was awarded the job with a successful bid of $16.4 million.
“Replacement of the old, narrow bridge will eliminate this pinch point for traffic and provide increased clearances for commercial vehicles,” said Kyllo in a July 25 Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure release. “The upgrade to four lanes will also provide all motorists with safer opportunities to pass on this stretch of Highway 1.”
Total funding for the project amounts to $35 million, with the B.C. government having committed up to $22 million, and the federal government contributing $13 million through the Building Canada Fund.
In addition to the bridge and road widening, Hickson Road is to be upgraded with a new “protected T” intersection to improve highway access and egress. In addition, access/egress from Ackerman and Delaney roads will be consolidated with a new protected T intersection near the Shuswap Speedway.
MOTI revealed plans to replace the bridge last summer as part of the B.C. government’s commitment to four-lane the Trans-Canada between Kamloops and the Alberta border.
MOTI states anywhere between 6,000 and 11,000 vehicles cross the Malakwa bridge daily.