With the twinning of the highway along the dreaded South Taylor Hill already underway, upgrades to additional sections of Highway 97 between Dawson Creek and Fort St. John are in the works.
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone anonounced Friday morning that 4.4 of the highway will be twinned between the Braden and 228 Roads at Tower Lake.
The project will also include upgrades to the intersection at 228 and Gibbs Roads, adding east and westbound left turn lanes and lighting.
A westbound left turn lane will also be added at 226 Road.
The total cost of the project is $17 million.
Work will begin in August and is expected to be completed in fall 2016.
The road has seen an increase in oil and gas related traffic in recent years and that is expected to rise steadily.
“These improvements will make a significant difference to the residents and commercial drivers who drive this part of Highway 97 every day,” Stone said.
The majority of the work contract - $11.7 million - has been awarded to Dawson Creek-based Construction Ltd. The remaining $5.3 million will go towards other aspects of the project, like the realignment of hydro poles and lines, acquiring the neccessary land and moving other communication lines along the highway.
“Four- this section of Highway 97 is going to make a significant difference for anyone who travels this route,” South Peace MLA Mike Bernier said.
The project is part of $1 billion the ministry will be spending over the next three years throughout the province as part of the B.C. on the Move 10-year transportation plan.
Highway 97 improvements in underway
Before arriving in Taylor Friday morning, Stone was in Thursday to highlight two Highway 97 upgrades with a $6.9 million price tag that are already underway.
South of towards Prince George, the Bridge replacement project includes a new, wider bridge to accommodate heavy equipment and large infrastructure as it moves from the south of the province to the north.
That work is being done by North Vancouver’s CEWE Infrastructure Ltd. It is expected to be complete in November 2015.
Work to repair sections of the highway in front of the and District Recreation Centre that have been a perennial pain as a result of frost heaves is also currently underway. That work began earlier this summer and is expected to be completed in September.