Traffic ground to standstill recently on Highway 97 in West Kelowna due to a traffic accident. - Image Credit: Kathy Michaels

More public input sought on Highway 97 plans

Another series of open houses will be held in the Central Okanagan next week.

The transportation ministry will hold another round of open houses to gather input and feedback from the public about future development of and improvements for Highway 97 through the Central Okanagan.

Three open houses are planned for next week, March 27 in Lake Country, March 28 in Kelowna and March 30 in West Kelowna.

The ministry says it plans to share a wide range of preliminary options with the public before the study team completes the screening and evaluation process.

Previous sessions shared and obtained input on existing, and forecast future, conditions on the highway corridor.

The public open houses are scheduled for:

• Lake Country—Monday, March 27 from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Winfield Memorial Hall, 10130 Bottom Wood Lake Road.

• Kelowna—Tuesday, March 28 from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ramada Kelowna Hotel and Conference Centre, 2170 Harvey Avenue.

• West Kelowna—Thursday, March 30 from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Westbank Lions Community Centre, 2466 Main Street.

According to the ministry, by 2040, the William R. Bennett Bridge will reach capacity in its current five-lane configuration and the he approaches to the bridge on the Kelowna side will reach capacity before then.

Also by 2040, it says a trip along the full length of the corridor (between Peachland and Lake Country) will take almost 15 minutes longer in the morning rush hour and up to 24 minutes longer in the afternoon rush hour.

By 2040, almost all signalized intersections within developed areas will have “significant” congestion and delay, adds the ministry.