A company from Delta has been chosen to expand a 2.2-kilometre stretch of Highway 1 in Salmon Arm from two to four lanes and build a new Salmon River Bridge starting in the fall.
The $29.7-million contract for the First Avenue SW to 10th Avenue SW four-laning project has been awarded to Springline Construction Services Ltd., but the province said hiring local workers will be made a priority through a community benefits agreement.
Along with widening Highway 1 to four lanes, with a concrete median barrier and the new bridge, work on phase one of the Salmon Arm West project will include constructing an interchange with frontage and side-road connections and a multi-use pathway for pedestrians and cyclists.
Updates on traffic disruptions will be provided via DriveBC.
COVID-19 protocols, such as distancing measures, are in place for provincial construction sites.
Under the community benefits agreement, the project will also prioritize hiring Indigenous peoples, women, people with disabilities and other under-represented groups who are qualified to do the work.
The provincial government is spending $1.04 billion to upgrade Highway 1 between Kamloops and the Alberta border over the next three years.
The total budget for the Salmon Arm West four-laning project is $184.7 million, including up to $31.4 million from the federal government under the provincial-territorial infrastructure component of the New Building Canada Fund.
That section of Highway 1 carries approximately 15,500 vehicles per day on average, with peak daily volumes exceeding 21,000.
Approximately 11 per cent of the average daily traffic are heavy trucks and commercial carriers moving between communities, the Lower Mainland and other provinces.
BC Infrastructure Benefits will provide employment and training for the project. It anticipates between 30 and 50 worksite employees to be hired and estimates apprenticeship and training targets to be between eight per cent and 18 per cent.
A second phase of the Salmon Arm West four-laning project runs from 10th Avenue SW to 10th Street SW and travels through the Adams Lake Indian Band's reserve.
According to the provincial government, it has been working collaboratively with the band on the reserve land acquisition.
That segment includes 1.1 kilometres of highway widening and intersection and frontage road upgrades and construction is expected to begin in 2023.
The overall project, from Kamloops to Alberta, has been under heavy criticism from the Opposition B.C. Liberals, who began the work when they were in power.
In July, Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone noted the original three-phased, 9.9-kilometre project on Highway 1 west of Chase is $61 million more expensive — to $260 million from the original budget o $199 million — and much shorter, now at 4.9 kilometres.
The B.C. Liberals have pointed to a three-year delay in starting construction and a union-only requirement for hiring via the new community benefit agreement introduced by the B.C. NDP government.