As Kamloops drivers have in recent days adjusted their commutes, sought clever ways to shave time or simply sat in their vehicle cussing, the city is asking for patience while West Victoria Street is paved.
Kamloops Deputy Mayor Mike O’Reilly said on Friday morning that the final day before Thanksgiving long weekend was likely going to be one of the “toughest” days of the project.
“What we are asking is that motorists completely avoid the area as much as possible,” he said.
Traffic has been increasingly gridlocked in the city in recent days, due to a perfect storm of conditions: construction of a major arterial road leading to and from downtown, the closure the Red Bridge at night due to inspection work, a breach of a gas line on West Victoria Street and various accidents.
On Thursday, a gas line in front of the Kamloops Makerspace building was struck by a contractor. O’Reilly called the situation’s timing “poor,” but noted it was fixed by 7 p.m.
Asked about the West Victoria Street and Red Bridge work coinciding, O’Reilly said the city and province do discuss projects needing to be done. However, he said, certain work — such as that on a heritage bridge — cannot be delayed
“We really appreciate people’s patience,” O’Reilly said.
Some residents have written to this newspaper, complaining about drivers who are taking shortcuts in order to decrease their own personal wait times, such as cutting through Guerin Creek or jetting past traffic on the Summit Connector, only to turn off at Mission Flats, pull a U-turn and bypass everyone waiting in the right lane to get onto Overlanders Bridge more quickly.
“There’s only so much that the city can do,” O’Reilly said. “‘We’ve created the HOV lane for city buses. At the end of the day, people just need to slow down and calm down. It’s short-term pain for long-term gain.”