The City of Vernon has announced the completion of a new north-south travel corridor more than a decade in the making.
Running from the Village Green Shopping Centre to Polson Park, the 29th and 30th Street corridor is meant to reduce traffic on 27th Street and Highway 97, making it easier for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to get across town.
“This is a big day for our community,” said Mayor Victor Cumming.
“More than a decade of careful and thoughtful planning, design and development have gone into making this critical transportation corridor possible. I am proud to see this project come to fruition. Not only will it help move residents through our community, but it will also help visitors explore Vernon more easily, and provide greater access to shopping, accommodations, and local attractions year-round.”
The project’s final phase began in 2019 with the construction of a new road and multi-use path through the old Civic Arena site, as well as a double-roundabout installment on 39th Avenue.
The new intersection also includes an upgraded railway crossing, however that portion of the work will be completed later this year due to supply chain disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, temporary measures are in place to improve safety until the railway crossing can be completed in full.
“Residents and visitors can now walk or cycle all the from the north end of town through the city centre to Polson Park and eventually to the Okanagan Rail Trail, entirely on separated pathways,” said Amanda Watson, the city’s transportation manager.
Infrastructure manager Mark Dowhaniuk thanked the residents for their patience during the construction period, and also for their input earlier on in the process.
“The feedback we received during public consultation helped inform the design process and helped us better understand the transportation needs of our citizens,” Dowhaniuk said. “A lot of effort has gone into this change, including major underground utility works to serve our community for many years to come.”
Drivers are reminded to heed the posted speed limit, signage and painted lines when navigating the new loops. Cyclists are encouraged to use the multi-use pathways. The rules on roundabouts can be found on ICBC’s website.
Funding for the $5.3 million project was provided jointly by City of Vernon development cost charges, sanitary utility funding, Greater Vernon Water, ICBC Road Improvement Program grants ($116,900), and a Federal Gas Tax Infrastructure grant ($2.39 million).