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Highway 97 will soon get $3M facelift from Osoyoos to Oliver
A $3 million highway-resurfacing project is coming to Osoyoos and Oliver next summer.
That was the big announcement recently when Minister of Transportation Todd Stone came to Oliver.
He outlined the 2015 project that will see Highway 97 repaved from Highway 3 in Osoyoos to Tucelnuit Drive (a stretch of 25 kilometres, including Oliver’s main street).
Construction is slated to begin in 12 months, with a fall 2015 completion date.
Stone said the project will create a smoother and safer drive for commercial trucks, local motorists and tourists.
Stone said the project is really attributed to the efforts of Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes and Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson.
“They’re a good tag team,” he pointed out.
The minister said Hovanes approached him at a Union of BC Municipalities convention outlining one of the Town’s top priorities – resurfacing the highway, especially through Oliver.
But Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells said he didn’t know anything about the resurfacing project.
“I guess we are out of the loop on this one. We hadn’t requested any surface renewal. I would much rather have seen a Penticton Regional Hospital ambulatory care funding announcement.”
Stone acknowledged the bumps and the cracks in the road, noting it was time for resurfacing.
He noted the last time the highway was resurfaced was in 1989 and the goal is to resurface most provincial highways every 25 years.
The minister said Oliver has taken great strides to beautify its downtown core, so the resurfacing project will complement that. He added the goal is to get more tourists to stop in town.
Hovanes said the repaving will act like a fresh coat of paint that will hopefully spur others to enhance their offerings.
The mayor thanked the ministry for completing previous projects such as the McIntyre passing lanes and the Vaseux Lake bluff safety signs.
Hovanes has been lamenting about the poor condition of the highway, particularly through town. He noted that a ministry official once drove through Oliver and commented that she didn’t know they were in the business of creating speed bumps.
Larson said the repaving will significantly benefit the economy from Osoyoos to Oliver and points beyond.
Special to the Times