VICTORIA, B.C. — Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena said that the government is planning to continue the project of widening the South Taylor Hill to four lanes, and that more Alaska Highway widening projects are in the planning stage.
Trevena made the comments in response to questions from Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier during a Supply Committee debate on her ministry’s budget in the B.C. Legislature on Tuesday. Bernier asked the Minister about the former BC Liberal government’s commitment to complete the project to widen Highway 97 at the South Taylor Hill. Bernier specifically asked about the corner on the hill about 3/4 of the way up, which has seen many instances of spun-out commercial vehicles in the winter.
Trevena responded that the tendering for the second phase of the road widening project will be taking place next year, as announced by the Liberals in March. However, Trevena would not commit to a timeline for the third and fourth phases of the project, which includes the infamous corner.
“There are, as I’m sure the member is well aware, huge geotechnical issues all the way through there. That’s really what’s slowing the work down on the…. Obviously, I understand the real concern of the hill and the grade.
Planning work is happening there. Engineering work is happening there. That won’t be in the scope of this work starting in 2018, but ministry engineers and staff are looking at the plans of how to move on with it and how to do it. As the member says, you don’t want the record of accidents. You do want to be dealing with this.”
Bernier also asked Trevena about the possibility of additional sections of the Alaska Highway between Fort St. John and Dawson Creek being upgraded to four-lane stretches or passing lanes. The Minister responded that there are additional sections near Dawson Creek, and between Fort St. John and Taylor that are currently in the planning stage. “That’s what the ministry is working on at the moment — to get in a position where we can be ready to move, if possible, in the near future,” said Trevena.