It’ll take a “catastrophic failure” before any major work will be done on Coalmont Road near Princeton.
During a recent Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen meeting Bob Coyne, director for Area H (Rural Princeton), asked if there were any plans in the works to address the avalanche and rock slide area on the road.
“I first want to commend Argo on the job they’ve done on the slide area to keep it open and get rid of material that comes down in regular places,” he said. “Is there any long-range plan for the area? There were two different occasions the road was closed and one of them it was closed for almost 24 hours.”
Jeff Wiseman, the operations manager for the Okanagan-Shuswap in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, said there were no plans.
“I’ve been in this area quite a few years. The fix there is large — a multi-million dollar fix. There is no plan at this time to upgrade into anything more than it is, from what we have there. Quite frankly, I would believe what it would take is a catastrophic failure for us to go in there and eventually do the permanent fix in there because the fix is probably in the order of 10 to 15 million dollars because you know the steep slope that’s there … there are no plans to do anything other than but maintain what we have now,” he said.
Wiseman along with Steve Strett, district program manager for the region for MOTI also brought bad news to Area B (Cawston) director George Bush.
Bush questioned information he received prior to the provincial election last May stating 22 kilometres of the road would be repaved in Cawston.
“Maybe there were about three kilometres of seal coating done so I don’t know what happened to that priority,” he said.
The paving was not part of the work or priority list Strett presented.
“Priorities can shift year-to-year depending on need … I don’t know exactly the reason or why they would have shifted or why you were told they were on there,” he said.
Bush was adamant the side roads were a priority and were actually causing damage t0 local industry.
“A lot of fruits are coming out of that area and the roads are so rough there is damage to the fruits being hauled out of there,” he said.
Strett explained side roads had been neglected in the region and a program implemented about three years ago meant money was finally going into repair and reconstruction.
“Side roads are a real problem. Until about two or three years ago there wasn’t an effort like this for quite some time to tackle those side roads issues, so, quite frankly they got neglected. We are behind,” he said.
Work scheduled to take place over 2018 and 2019 includes:
* Highway 3 Osoyoos bumpouts in partnership with Osoyoos
* Highway 5A guard rails at Allison Lake
* Aikens Loop in Naramata including realignment and paving
* Highway 3 Osoyoos storm sewer systems in partnership with Osoyoos
* Keremeos bumpouts in partnership with Village of Keremeos
* Smethurst for paving
* Highway 97 at Alberni Avenue for a crosswalk
Listed as current priorities for resurfacing (subject to change):
* Highway 3 Friday Creek to Princeton (intermittent)
* Highway 3 Osoyoos to Chapman Road
* Highway 3 Hedley to Keremeos
* Highway 3 Nighthawk to Osoyoos
* Highway 3 Princeton to Gulliver Lake
* Highway 3 Keremeos four-lane