TAYLOR, B.C. – The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure isn’t able to say when work will resume on widening the South Taylor Hill to four lanes, though Taylor mayor Rob Fraser said that the costs of the remaining two-thirds of the widening project are escalating.
Fraser met with Transportation Minister Claire Trevena on four separate occasions at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler last week, with the meeting involving Taylor District Council focusing largely on the topic of the South Taylor Hill.
In 2016, the provincial government completed the first phase of the project, widening the bottom two kilometres of the hill and building a new truck chain-up area near Big Bam Road.
Construction work has not yet begun on the middle portion of the hill, which would widen the road for the 1-kilometre stretch from the first phase to the curve in the road unofficially known as “Drive Shaft Corner.”
Ministry spokesperson Danielle Pope said that design and project development is underway, and a $40 million federal funding partnership was announced last year.
“The final delivery option remains to be determined based on the outcome of the ongoing project investigation. Once this is determined, the ministry will seek approvals from the Capital Board and Treasury Board to proceed with the remaining project phases. At that time, we will be able to provide details regarding the timeline and cost for the remaining work,” she said in an email.
However, Fraser said that planning costs for that segment of road are escalating, especially after part of the hill slumped on the downhill side of the highway during heavy rains in the spring of 2017, which caused delays on the hill for the rest of the summer.
“The Ministry was pretty clear that there’s an increase in design costs, the more they look at that one kilometre, the costs of changing that somehow are really starting to ramp up and increase.”
Fraser said that while meeting with Trevena, he stressed the important role the highway plays in the regional economy and that the Ministry needs to look at the entire route of the road through the river valley, rather than in individual portions.