Paving underway on Highway 3 near its junction with Highway 3A at the north end of Creston.

Paving underway on Highway 3 near its junction with Highway 3A at the north end of Creston.

Paving project in Creston Valley totals nearly $5 million

Web Lead

  • Oct. 14, 2014 7:00 a.m.

One doesn’t have to drive far these days to experience a smooth and quiet ride on freshly laid pavement.

As many as 40 workers have been working 12-hour days since August on a $4.9 million paving project that totals 33 kilometres of roadway.

Included is “approximately 22 kilometres of paving on Highway 3 from the chain up spot to Blazed Creek Forest Service Road,” said Robert Adam for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MTI), describing the scope of the work.

When that project was complete, crews moved to Highway 21, where seven kilometres were paved from Mallory Road to the junction of Highway 3.

But it’s the shortest part of the project, the repaving of Erickson Street, that results in the most obvious change.

The project includes “drainage upgrades and widening where possible within the existing ministry right-of-way to enhance mobility for all users, especially pedestrians and cyclists,” Adam said.

Creston Mayor Ron Toyota said that the Erickson Street project was complicated by the fact that the Town of Creston boundary runs down the centre of the street, with the southern side of the road in Regional District of Central Kootenay Area B.

“We started conversations (with the MTI) about three years ago about relocating the boundary,” he said. “That started the discussion.”

Initial discussions centered around the town taking over the entire road and, hence, the responsibility for maintaining it.

“Then a year ago I went to Victoria and said to the assistant deputy minister, ‘We don’t want it. You take it,’ ” said Toyota.

Discussions evolved into a swap in which streets on the west side of town — Ash and McMurtie — would become the town’s responsibility.

“Erickson Street had been on the ministry’s radar as needing capital improvements for quite some time, obviously,” he said. “But our discussions helped to push it into the budget queue.”

By adding the Erickson Street project to the needs on highways 3 and 21, Toyota said it made it easier for the province to justify putting the project out to tender.

“Can we get enough work to put out a bigger bid that would justify putting in a batch plant? That became part of the thinking,” he said. “By adding sufficient volume you get economies of scale that make financial sense.”

The contract was awarded to Okanagan Aggregates Ltd. on March 14, and gravel production and crushing started in August. A total of 42,000 tonnes of paving aggregate were used and 600 metres of new concrete roadside barrier were installed.

For its part, the town was required to upgrade below-ground infrastructure to assure the province that it wouldn’t need to dig up the new paving in the next few years.

“There were people who were unhappy with the condition of Erickson Street this summer, but we had to get our work done so that we wouldn’t hold up the paving work when the time came,” Toyota said. “This project is a great example of what can be done when levels of government work together in a spirit of cooperation.”

For his part, MTI area manager Cliff Razzo said the scope of work completed this year has been satisfying.

“It’s been really exciting to be part of all this. It makes a big difference to our community.”