Construction is set to begin on widening and four-laning a section of Highway 97 south of Williams Lake, which will result in shorter travel times, less driver frustration and a safer highway.
“Construction will soon be underway on another important link in the Cariboo Connector four-laning program,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone. “This project will see over six kilometres of the highway widened to four lanes from the Williams Lake Indian Reserve #1 near 150 Mile House north to Lexington Road. Four-laning this section of Highway 97 is a key priority for this government and a key priority in B.C. on the Move.”
A memorandum of understanding has been signed and finalized with the Williams Lake Indian Band that focuses on not only the land transfer but also important local opportunities. In concert with the project, the Williams Lake Indian Band has already started construction of a new on-reserve frontage road that will link the Williams Lake Indian Band’s Coyote Rock Development Project and other development lands with the new Highway 97 alignment. In order to improve safety for motorists and the local communities, turning and deceleration lanes on Highway 97 will be included in the four-laning works at a number of locales.
“This is a critically important project for the Williams Lake Indian Band and the region as a whole,” said Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Ann Louie. “These works will improve the safety of this section of highway and greatly enhance the potential for economic development on our lands. We are pleased that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has recognized the need to collaborate with First Nations, particularly when projects are running through reserve lands. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and their contractor during the delivery of this project.”
Phase 2 of the Cariboo Connector program was announced in 2011, with a further commitment of $200 million. At the completion of Phase 2, almost 50% of the 440-km highway between Cache Creek and Prince George will be either three or four lanes wide, improving the safety and mobility of this important corridor.
“This is a key trade route and important highway for commerce throughout the province,” said Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes. “We’ll continue to fulfil our commitment to widen the corridor between Cache Creek and Prince George in the coming years to increase safety and support our commercial trucking industry.”
“It’s great to work with the Williams Lake Indian Band to get this memorandum finalized, and we look forward to their involvement during the construction process,” said Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett. “The Cariboo Connector is a key link between the northern part of the province and the southern interior. Therefore, it is important that we continue to make improvements that will support greater highway safety and efficiency for all road users.”
This $ 21.6-million contract was awarded to Cantex-Okanagan Construction of Penticton. The project is scheduled to be completed in November 2017.
B.C. on the Move is available online at: www.gov.bc.ca/bconthemove