As part of Phase 3 of the Cariboo Connector Program, design work is underway on a project to four-lane a section of Highway 97 and upgrade the intersection at Highway 97 and the Old Cariboo Highway, announced MLA for Prince-George-Valemount Shirley Bond, on behalf of Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.
“We are continuing to invest in Northern highway infrastructure including the four-laning of Highway 97. Phase 3 of the Cariboo Connector will add an additional $200 million dollars, create hundreds of jobs and build on the $440 million dollars invested in Phases 1 and 2,” said Bond. “Design work will be started for the upgrade of the intersection at Highway 97 and the Old Cariboo Highway to improve safety and efficiency and continue the four-laning done previously.”
Through the Cariboo Connector Program, $240 million was invested for 18 projects in Phase 1, all of which have been completed. Another $200 million was committed for nine projects in Phase 2, six of which are completed and three more are underway.
For Phase 3, an additional $200 million has been committed creating more than 600 jobs. Four projects have already been identified and more will be determined later.
The Old Cariboo Highway connects Highway 16 east to Highway 97 south and is often used as a bypass route around the city. Where this highway intersects with Highway 97, it has presented a number of safety concerns for residents and commercial traffic. This new project would be a continuation of previous four-laning completed in Phase 1 and 2 of the program.
“Expanding the capacity of our highway system is vital to improving safety, attracting new investment and supporting economic growth,” said Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris. “These upgrades will be valued by the local community, especially those who use Highway 97 on their daily commutes to work or school, and they will be valued by the commercial trucking industry, as the extra lanes on the highway will save time and money for trucking companies.”
The Cariboo Connector Program is a key component of the B.C. on the Move, the 10-year plan to improve B.C.’s transportation network. Over the next three years the ministry and its partners are investing over $4.6 billion in priority transportation investments as part of this plan.
The $200-million commitment for Phase 3 of the program is one of the ways B.C. government is taking action to strengthen and grow rural communities.
The Province is working with rural British Columbians to help them build, grow and diversify their communities so they can create jobs and remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing economy. In 2016-17 alone, the government invested $3.6 billion in economic development activities targeted at rural B.C. such as improving connectivity and transportation infrastructure and supporting Aboriginal people and young adults.
B.C. on the Move is available online at www.gov.bc.ca/bconthemove