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UBCM endorses Sicamous resolution asking for more action on Highway 1 improvement plan

'Hurry up on highway fixes'

The Union of B.C. Municipalities wants the province to hurry up on replacement of the narrow and deteriorating Bruhn Bridge at Sicamous.

The UBCM will ask the province to initiate multiple projects laid out in its Trans-Canada Highway improvements plan after delegates at the convention in Vancouver adopted a resolution from Sicamous on Wednesday.

The resolution states in 2021, the province committed $837 million over three years to fund safety and efficiency improvements along a 400-kilometre section of Highway 1 between Kamloops and the Alberta border.

"However, several projects identified in the provincial plan are not yet underway, including the deteriorating RW Bruhn Bridge that poses significant public safety concerns," the resolution states.

The bridge is located just west of Sicamous and has been the scene of numerous collisions, some of them fatal.

According to the provincial government website, the project is currently in the detailed design phase, with a construction tender planned to advance in 2023.

However, in 2018, the province expected early construction to begin in 2020.

At the time, the Ministry of Transportation said a new five-lane bridge would include four-lane approaches, "improving safety and efficiency for people travelling through the area on Highway 1."

It would include acceleration and deceleration lanes at Old Spallumcheen Road, a new roadway passing under the bridge to increase connectivity and a multi-use path to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

In 2018, the project was pegged at $224.5 million.

A 2022 collision between a pickup and semi on the bridge saw the smaller truck smash through the guard rail and dangle precariously over the Sicamous Narrows.

The crash sent eight people to hospital and shut down the highway for hours.

In 2021, a Kamloops man was killed in another crash on the bridge.

This week's resolution directed the UBCM to "request the province initiate projects currently identified in the 2021 Highway 1 - Kamloops to Alberta - four-laning plan to improve safety, reliability, and capacity of the Trans-Canada Highway."

It noted the 400-kilometre section of highway is home to some of the most challenging terrain in Canada, and is used by up to 12,000 vehicles per day.

Local government representatives voted to endorse a block of resolutions which focused on topics from transportation and safety to health and finance, including Sicamous' highway improvements motion.

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