Salmon Arm  

Shuswap rail trail to cost millions more due to erosion, highway overpass

Rail trail costs balloon

A clearer picture is coming into view of increased costs to build a rail trail between Armstrong and Sicamous.

As reported last month by Castanet, erosion work and overpass construction will add considerably to the Shuswap rail trail development plan.

"A primary factor is erosion and flood stabilization work needed along the approximately 35 kilometres of the rail bed adjacent to Sicamous Narrows, Mara Lake, Rosemond Lake, and the Shuswap River," says the Shuswap Trail Alliance.

Erosion during high water is undercutting and eating away the surface of the existing rail bed. Several sections are lower than the 25-year flood levels, and will need to be raised, adding $5.5 million to the originally estimated $13 million cost. And a highway overpass at Highway 97 just north of Armstrong adds an additional $2.5 million. 

The technical assessments increased the estimate to $17 million, and including contingencies, the total project could balloon to $23 million.

The draft development plan was presented to the Shuswap-North Okanagan Rail Trail Governance Advisory Committee made up of leadership from Splatsin First Nation, the Regional District of North Okanagan, and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, who jointly own the corridor.

The plan brings together a year of research, consultations, and technical studies on archeology, cultural heritage, environment, agriculture, structural erosion, flooding, steep slopes, safety, surfacing, road crossings, bridge upgrades, trailheads, side destinations, amenities, and signage.

Final edits to the plan will be released to the public later this month, along with the launch of a fundraising campaign. Organizers will also seek provincial and federal grants.

“It is all about connecting communities, sharing culture and values," says CSRD director Rhona Martin.

Individuals and corporate donors are invited to become partners at www.ShuswapNorthOkanaganRailTrail.ca.

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