It appears motorists will have to deal with traffic interruptions on a section of Highway 3A at Yellow Lake until early October.
According to project manager Rampual Dulay of the Ministry of Transportation unexpected problems involving a nearby fibre optics network and unstable rock conditions resulted in a four-month contract extension for completion of the $5.6 million upgrade. Wiltech Developments Inc. was awarded the contract to construct two-metre wide shoulders through a section of the roadway originally scheduled to be finished by last April.
“Telus poles were in existing right of way and they had to acquire a new right of way, so until they were moved out of there the contractor couldn’t do that part of the project,” said Dulay. “Telus was supposed to have it done by last year but were unable to for whatever reason. It’s also a high altitude area and the winter set in and they weren’t able to work in there because it’s a pretty steep slope.”
Due to the sensitive nature of the fibre optics any damage could have resulted in significant problems for customers he added. The movement of the lines was eventually completed in May at which time the contractor gained access to the area. Currently there are two, one-hour closures daily (except Sunday) in both directions and 20-minute shutdowns at the top and bottom of the hour. Dulay noted prior to construction there were little or no shoulders along that section of the highway.
“It will remain two lane and the new highway will also have wider ditches,” said the project manager. “Most of the ditches will be three-to-five metres in the rockfall areas so that will provide a catchment area for the rockfall.”
Previously any rocks dislodged landed directly on the traveled portion of the road. Concrete barriers will also be installed. Anyone wishing to avoid delays at the site can take Green Mountain Road from the Channel Parkway which meets up with Highway 3A west of the site or travel south to Osoyoos and back to Keremeos on Highway 3.