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Active transportation takes a shot in the wheel through provincial recovery plan

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
July 15th, 2021

A series of transportation improvements should have the wheels of Nelsonites rolling a little better this year.

As part of province’s Economic Recovery Plan, the city will benefit directly from three projects aimed at improving active transportation.

The big orange bridge has new cycle activated warning signs installed for cyclists crossing the bridge going to and from Nelson, while bus stops from Nelson to Balfour are being improved through a brushing, ditching, widening and paving project.

As well, along the BNR Recreation Trail — a section from Svoboda Road to Troup Beach —  a project to brush, dig out ditches and resurface part of the popular trail just outside of the city will conclude this year as well.

The project is intended to improve safety and accessibility for hikers, cyclists and cross-country skiers, said former city councillor turned MLA for Nelson-Creston, Brittny Anderson, in a press release on the matter.

“Here in the Kootenays, people love to get out and enjoy the trails, myself included,” she said. “Investments in trail networks like the Great Northern Rail Trail help people stay connected with the great outdoors, create local jobs and help communities build back stronger.”

Overall, more than $16 million in transportation investments was earmarked for the West and East Kootenay to support the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In all, more than 35 projects ranging from active transportation improvements and transportation upgrades in rural and remote communities, to climate adaptation projects are finishing up as part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan.

Throughout the province, more than 180 projects received economic recovery funding. Those projects included multi-use pathways and rail trails, highway crossings, transit stop improvements, sidewalk installations, lighting enhancements and shoulder widening that make active modes of transportation (such as cycling) safer and more accessible.

In addition to the Nelson projects, Balfour will see gravel production on Kokanee Glacier Park Road — a popular active transportation and recreational side road route — and road widening and resurfacing at the Columbia Road Park and Ride outside of Castlegar.

Transit improvements are also being finished along Highway 6 between Slocan to New Denver.

Around $8 million was spent across the Kootenay region to address climate adaptation and improve the resiliency of the region’s highway network and decrease the negative effects of climate events, including flooding, wildfires and erosion.

Under those terms, projects included riverbank erosion protection, creek channel training, culvert upsizing, flood protection works, slope erosion protection and avalanche system maintenance.

Avalanche catchment areas on six avalanche paths were increased throughout the West Kootenay, with the replacement of a deep fill culvert on Highway 6 near Nakusp and another avalanche catchment area was increased along Highway 6.

Across nine sites in the West Kootenay rip rap material was generated by removing rock on the side of highways and side roads, while several culverts were replaced.

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