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Despite pandemic, highway resurfacing project near Vernon moves forward

Paving projects in the Southern Interior are already underway despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Don Mitchell / Global News

More than 300 kilometres of highways and side roads are expected to be resurfaced in B.C. this summer, and one of the first projects to get underway is near Vernon.

It involves hot-in-place asphalt recycling for a total of 43 kilometres, including one segment of Highway 6 between Vernon and Lumby, two segments of Highway 97 near Vernon and two segments of Highway 97 near Falkland.

The province said hot-in-place resurfacing is a made-in-B.C. process that involves repurposing the existing asphalt by heating, softening and blending it with a small amount of new asphalt before reapplying it to the road surface.

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This method extends the life of the surface, is faster, saves resources and lowers greenhouse gas emissions, according to a news release.

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Work on the $7.2-million project is underway and is expected to be complete this summer.

“All these paving projects will make a big difference to residents as well as those who travel through the region,” transportation minister Claire Trevena said in a news release.

“Moving forward with highway improvement projects means we are providing jobs for British Columbians, but in all of these projects, safety comes first.”

The province said construction employers have been told to ensure workers are physical distancing, both while working and during breaks.

Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 like symptoms will be directed to self-isolate at home for at least 10 days, according to a news release.

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Other major resurfacing projects for the region this spring and summer include:

  • Highway 3 near Castlegar: sealcoating approximately 25 kilometres of Highway 3, Bombi Pass between the Ootischenia weigh scales and Beaver Creek bridge
  • Highway 5 near Barriere: resurfacing approximately 16 kilometres of Highway 5 from McLure Ferry Road to Louis Creek Bridge
  • Highway 97A and side roads near Salmon Arm: approximately 13 kilometres of resurfacing on Highway 97A from Enderby to Grindrod, along with portions of Mabel Lake Road, Trinity Valley Road and Springbend Road
  • Side roads near Creston: approximately 24 kilometres of side road resurfacing in the Lister area, as well as some of Highway 21, including patch paving for five kilometres near the Canada-U.S. border.

More than $85 million is being invested in highway and side road improvements in the southern Interior in 2020.

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The following projects make up the rest of what will be resurfaced in the region this year:

  • Highway 1, 93/95 near Radium Hot Springs and Golden (23 kilometres) – hot-in-place resurfacing from Windermere to Radium and in the Golden area
  • Highway 3A near Nelson (20 kilometres) – resurfacing from Kootenay Lake Bridge to Taghum Bridge and side roads
  • Highway 5 near Merritt (10 kilometres) – resurfacing from Great Bear Snowshed to Dry Gulch Bridge
  • Highway 20 near Williams Lake (28 kilometres) – sealcoating from the Sheep Creek Brake Check to Hodgson Road
  • Highway 95A near Cranbrook (18 kilometres) – resurfacing from Cranbrook to Marysville including some side roads
  • Highway 97 near Quesnel (33 kilometres) – intermittent resurfacing between McLeese Lake and Dale Lake
  • Highway 97 near Vernon (10 kilometres) – highway resurfacing from north of 43rd Avenue to College Way and along Old Kamloops Road
  • Highway 97C near Merritt (12 kilometres) – mill-and-fill resurfacing from the Highway 5A Junction (Aspen Grove) to Pothole Creek Bridge.

While resurfacing projects are underway, the province is warning drivers to expect minor delays and/or single-lane alternating traffic.

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