Salmon Arm is one of the many communities along the Trans Canada Highway that will be a part of the $1.04 billion project that plans to make the Kamloops-Alberta corridor safer for travellers.
The budget for the Salmon Arm West four-laning project is $184.7 million, which includes a number of upgrades to Highway 1 in the area. The Salmon River Bridge will be replaced, along with construction of an interchange with frontage road connections at 1st Avenue SW and construction of frontage roads to consolidate access to and from Highway 1.
This area of the highway is high-volume – it sees an average of about 15,500 vehicles per day, with busier days exceeding 21,000. About 11 per cent of that traffic are heavy trucks and commercial vehicles moving between communities and the Lower Mainland.
The Salmon River Bridge and the current intersection locations have been prone to collisions in recent years. Between 2009 and 2018, there were 87 collisions. There has been one fatality, 56 injuries and 49 incidents with only property damage.
"We are committed to making sure that the highway is as safe as possible for both locals and commercial vehicles along the entire corridor," says Claire Trevena, B.C.'s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "It is also important that we keep moving forward on major projects that will spur economic recovery, and this project is delivered under our Community Benefits Agreement and will ensure local workers are employed and that communities will benefit."
A multi-use pathway for pedestrians and cyclists is also part of the project, which will allow non-motorized travellers a safe space to move around the area.
"We are always trying to find ways to include active transportation in all of our projects, because we want to give people options other than their vehicles," says Trevena. "The path will be between 1st Avenue SW and 10th Avenue SW, and anyone who wants to walk or bike will be able to use it."
The project does run through the Adams Lake and Neskonlith Indian Bands' reserves, and the provincial government is working closely with the Indigenous communities to ensure that both sides are satisfied with the proceedings.
Trevena says COVID-19 restrictions will not delay the completion date of the project, which is scheduled for 2023.