Construction crews start work next week on a project to build a new four-way, signalized intersection at Highway 97 and Swanson Lumber Road (259 Road), southeast of Fort St. John.
The new intersection will enhance safety and reduce traffic delays for people in the region.
As part of this project, crews will build a nearly 500-metre frontage road starting at Barrette Road (257A Road) that runs west to align with the new intersection. This new road will redirect the current accesses to Highway 97 to the new intersection, providing area residents and businesses easier and safer access to the highway.
“This new intersection along Highway 97 will increase driver safety for commuters and tourists, while also improving traffic flow for commercial vehicles along one of British Columbia’s key trade and commuter corridors,” said Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds stronger communities.”
The current intersection is a stop-sign controlled T-intersection. This contributes to congestion coming off Swanson Lumber Road and causes significant traffic delays, which will increase as traffic volumes rise. The project is estimated to be complete in fall 2021.
“Highway 97 is a crucial corridor for our province’s natural resource industries, and this project provides an important safety improvement for the people who rely on it,” said Claire Trevena, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We’ve also heard from people that traffic is increasing, making it harder to move through the area. Projects such as this new intersection are investments in our communities, helping to create good jobs for people.”
The $11.1-million project was funded through $6.4 million from the Province and $4.7 million from the Government of Canada.
Highway 97 is the longest continuously numbered route in British Columbia, running 2,081 kilometres from the Canada-United States border (near Osoyoos) in the south to the British Columbia-Yukon border (north of Watson Lake) in the north.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is working closely with the contactor, IDL Project Inc. of Prince George, and WorkSafeBC to ensure health and safety are maintained for all workers on site.
Provincial construction sites have protocols and policies in place following the requirements of the provincial health officer to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures include physical distancing and other protocols to ensure worker and public safety.
Once the project begins, drivers can expect delays of up to 20 minutes and occasional single-lane, alternating traffic. The ministry appreciates people’s patience during this project. Drivers are reminded to obey construction zone speed limits and the direction of traffic control personnel.
Lori Ackerman, mayor, City of Fort St. John –
“The safety of our residents is paramount. Council looked at a transportation plan for the city that would ensure safe movement of our residents and businesses. We appreciate the investment being made at this intersection that will allow for safer entrance onto and egress off the highway.”
Dave Earle, president and CEO, British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA) –
“The BCTA welcomes the intersection improvements announced under a joint federal-provincial funding agreement. Signalized intersections improve road safety and provide smoother, more predictable access to routes for commercial traffic.”
For the most up-to-date highway travel information, visit: www.DriveBC.ca
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For information on the Government of Canada’s New Building Canada Fund: Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component national and regional projects, visit: https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/nrp-pnr-prog-eng.html
For travel precautions due to COVID-19, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/driving-and-cycling/traveller-information/travel-affected-by-covid-19