September 10, 2002

B.C. and federal governments announce $17 million highway improvement projects

Ottawa, Ontario – Natural Resources Minister and MP (Vancouver South-Burnaby) Herb Dhaliwal, on behalf of Transport Minister David Collenette, together with British Columbia Transportation Minister Judith Reid announced on Monday that the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia will contribute joint funding of approximately $17 million for two highway construction projects in the province.

The funding will be used for projects on Highway 97, which is the province’s principal north-south route, near Quesnel, and at the Trans-Canada Highway/Vedder Road interchange, at Chilliwack.

The first project involves realigning and replacing the Cottonwood River Bridge, and upgrading a 1.4 kilometre section of Highway 97 that will serve the new bridge. The project is expected to begin by summer 2003 and be completed by 2004.

The second project involves reconstructing the ramps and associated intersections that serve the interchange, improving and lengthening the acceleration/deceleration lanes at the interchange, widening northbound and southbound portions of Vedder Road, and removing local accesses on Vedder Road that interfere with the operation of the interchange. The project, which will also receive funding of $4.1 million from the City of Chilliwack, is expected to begin by spring 2003 and be completed in 2004.

“More than $8.5 million of federal funds from the Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program is being used for these highway improvement projects,” said Mr. Collenette. “Residents of these areas, visitors to the province, and trade in British Columbia will all benefit from these projects.”

“These two projects will improve public safety and support the flow of goods and services that are fundamental to the economic growth of Chilliwack and Quesnel. Our government is committed to working in partnership with other levels of government to deliver much-needed transportation improvements throughout the province,” said Ms Reid.

Under the SHIP agreement, the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia will provide joint funding of $122.4 million until March 2006 for highway improvement projects in the province. The Canada/B.C. SHIP agreement, signed March 5, 2002, is part of the national $600 million SHIP program announced by Mr. Collenette in April 2001.

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