Province behind on promise to four-lane Trans-Canada

Latest provincial budget contains more than $200 million in spending over the next three years on four-laning the Trans-Canada Highway.

  • Mar. 2, 2016 5:00 p.m.

Alex Cooper, Revelstoke Review

The latest provincial budget contains more than $200 million in spending over the next three years on four-laning the Trans-Canada Highway from Kamloops to the Alberta border.

According to the service plan for the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure, $48 million is set to be spent this year, $57 million in 2017 and $101 million in 2018, for a total of $206 million.

Only two projects are mentioned in the service plan – phase four of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project, and completion of twinning the 10.5-kilometre stretch from Monte Creek to Pritchard, east of Kamloops. However, the ministry provided a list of projects that are either underway or in the planning and design phase. They are:

• Phase 2 of the Hoffman’s Bluff project, which includes four-laning 3.1 kilometres of highway at a cost of $61.6 million. The federal government is paying for $26.9 million of that. Construction is scheduled to finish this year.

• Replacement of the Malakwa Bridge and twinning three kilometres of highway, at a cost of $35 million, $13 million of which is coming from Ottawa. Work is set to finish this summer.

• Four-laning 7.5 kilometres of highway from Hoffman’s Bluff to Chase Creek at a cost of $94.5 million, $18.3 million of which is being paid for by Ottawa. Design work is complete, but there is no set date for construction to begin.

• Twinning six kilometres of highway through western Salmon Arm. This project is in the planning and design phase, and no cost estimate is available.

• Replacement of the North Fork bridge and twinning 3.5 kilometres between Revelstoke and Sicamous. The cost and construction start date are to be determined.

• Four-laning of a 2.4 kilometre stretch of highway near Albert Canyon. $34 million was announced just before the federal election campaign started last August. The federal government is contributing $15.5 million towards this project.

• Four-laning 2.5 kilometres of highway 20 kilometres west of Golden. No cost or construction timing has been set.

• The fourth phase of the Kicking Horse canyon project, which consists of twinning four kilometres of highway just outside of Golden. It has been in the planning stages for years. The budget for this is $450 million, which the province hopes to share with the federal government.

In 2012, Premier Christy Clark announced the province would spend $650 million over the next 10 years on twinning the Trans-Canada Highway from Kamloops to the Alberta Border.

So far it is behind on its promise, having underspent its budget in the first three years of the commitment, according to the service plans and estimates published by the Ministry of Transportation.

In 2012/13, $74 million was budgeted but only $60 million was spent. In 2013/14, $59 million was budgeted but only $18 million was spent. In 2014/15, $50 million was budgeted but only $32 million was spent.

Last April, during a debate in the Legislature, Transportation Minister Todd Stone said it would cost $6 billion to finish twinning the provincial portions of the highway from Kamloops to Alberta.

Former MP David Wilks said it would cost $5 billion in 2012 dollars to twin the highway through Yoho, Glacier and Mount Revelstoke national parks.

Norm Macdonald, the MLA for Columbia River–Revelstoke, criticized the government’s spending.

“The much-needed Trans-Canada Highway upgrade remains essentially unfunded, despite numerous announcements and promises that this was a priority for the government,” he said.

Revelstoke mayor Mark McKee said he doesn’t expect to see big strides in highway spending until the federal government comes to the table with big money.

“One thing I am confident is that when the feds are ready to sit down at the table and talk Trans-Canada, the province will be there to fund upgrades,” said McKee.

 

Just Posted

Houseboat company sues province, Sicamous over 2012 flooding

Sixty-day trial now underway in BC Supreme Court in Kelowna

Open letter to Premier John Horgan

LETTER: Group called First Things First Okanagan promotes action on climate change

Salmon Arm RCMP arrest one male on child pornography charges

Search of Canoe residence leads to seizure of computers

Sicamous senior falls victim to timeshare scam, loses thousands

RCMP warn of common phone-fraud technique employed

Truck burns on Trans-Canada Highway near Chase

Trailer ignites, creating smoke seen in neighbouring community

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

Okanagan Eats back for another year

Okanagan Eats features vendors, chef demos, and so much more. This isn’t your average food show.

VIDEO: Smokers talk pot rules at annual 4-20 event

Annual pot protest-meets-festival in Vancouver attracted hundreds to vendors, concert

New funds, recruits set to alleviate B.C. sheriff shortage

The Government of British Columbia announced new sheriff graduates, funding for more classes

Kelowna General Hospital receives donation towards JoeAnna’s House

Shuswap Hospital Foundation contributes $15,000 to project

Farnworth says five years too long for feds to deal with organized crime in medical pot

Needs to be dealt with much sooner than that, B.C. Public Safety Minister says

UPDATED: Unions, CP Rail come to agreement, avoiding work stoppage

Locomotive engineers, conductors and signals specialists seeking new collective agreements.

B.C. woman known to hitchhike around province missing

Aislynn Hanson, 18, last seen April 13; known to travel throughout B.C. by hitchhiking

B.C. court relies on Facebook to track down missing defendant

A court in Princeton, B.C. relied on Facebook to track down a B.C. missing his court date

Most Read