Transportation ministry announces highway upgrades consultation

The B.C. Ministry of Transportation has announced a Revelstoke public consultation on plans to upgrade the Trans-Canada Highway

The B.C. Ministry of Transportation has announced a series of public consultations on plans to upgrade the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and the Alberta border, including a Feb. 26 open house in Revelstoke.

The Times Review first reported on the story following a Feb. 5 interview with B.C. transportation minister Mary Polak in Revelstoke. She announced the consultation process (including new highway signage), saying it was necessary to identify priorities and firm up plans that would then be used to seek matching federal dollars. Columbia River—Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald (NDP) dismissed the consultations as a pre-election ploy, saying the government had put up similar signs before the 2009 election.

Consultations will be held in February in Kamloops, Chase, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Golden, and in Revelstoke on Feb. 26 from 5-8 p.m. at the Revelstoke Community Centre.

On Sept. 28. 2012, in an address to the Union of B.C. Municipalities, Premier Christy Clark announced the province would spend $509 million over the next 10 years to four-lane the highway from Kamloops to the Alberta border. That is on top of the $141 million in the existing three-year service plan for the highway.

At the time, Polak said the province would be seeking matching funds from the Federal government. There has not been any funding commitment from Ottawa yet.

Today’s announcement said the consultations will include “online engagement, stakeholder meetings and six public information sessions.”

The government estimates the “Kamloops to Alberta Four-laning Program” will create 3,300 direct jobs over 10 years.

“Widening the remainder of the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops to the Alberta border is critical for supporting goods movement, trade and tourism, and growing our economy. By engaging local communities and other stakeholders, we’ll be able to modify and improve the projects already under development and prioritize additional work going forward,” said transportation minister Mary Polak in a statement.