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City of Salmon Arm hopes to avoid $2.5M bill to build planned connector

Road design 90 per cent complete, study to take 12 months to finish
The proposed Auto Road Connector would run from around the Auto Road and 10th Avenue SE intersection, southwest to 14th Avenue SE and onto Shuswap Street. (City of Salmon Arm image)

The City of Salmon Arm is hoping to avoid a $2.5 million bill to move FortisBC infrastructure in order to construct the proposed Auto Road connector.

At the May 13 city council meeting, engineering and public works director Rob Niewenhuizen explained how for the past two years, ISL Engineering has been working on the design of the proposed connector that would run from around the Auto Road and 10th Avenue SE intersection, southwest to 14th Avenue SE and onto Shuswap Street. Niewenhuizen said the design is at 90 per cent completion.

“During that time we’ve been trying to obtain approval from FortisBC for the crossings that we have to do for this road,” said Niewenhuizen, explaining the proposed road would cross over two high-pressure pipelines. The city recently received a letter of conditional approval from FortisBC.

Included with those conditions is the requirement of a Class 4 estimate for the project. To be completed by Fortis, the estimate will cost approximately $125,000 and take one year to complete.

“They’re basically saying we need to know what the condition of those pipes are and how we’re going to bridge those pipes along that corridor,” said Niewenhuizen.

Following the estimate, the city will receive an updated estimate and construction timeline so the city can determine if it wishes to proceed with the project.

The preliminary estimate given to the city for the replacement of both pipelines was $2.5 million.

“ISL will also be engaged with Fortis during this process and once we know more we’ll be looking at alternatives if there are any,” said Niewenhuizen, noting the city has money in its current budget for the Class 4 study.

Coun. Kevin Flynn noted the connector is among the city’s medium-term strategic priorities, “and we’re almost already there.”

“I don’t see any alternative but to support this,” said Flynn of a staff request to proceed with the study. “We need to know where we stand.”

Mayor Alan Harrison noted the proposed connector is “much sought after,” especially by people impacted by the current flow of traffic along Auto, 10th and 5th Street SE.

“I liked everything about this report except for the $2.5 million estimate,” said Harrison. “I mean, I think we need to do this study because $2.5 million sounds like an awful lot of money to me to adjust a transmission pipeline.”

Council voted unanimously in support of proceeding with the study.

Read more: Design for Auto Road Connector in Salmon Arm to include closing Shoemaker Hill

Read more: Transport truck temporarily clogs Salmon Arm’s steep bending Shoemaker Hill

Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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