Crews watch a ceremonial blast to mark the Highway 97 project in Oyama reaching the halfway mark Thursday.

Crews watch a ceremonial blast to mark the Highway 97 project in Oyama reaching the halfway mark Thursday.

Highway milestone celebrated with a blast

New route between Winfield and Oyama reaches halfway mark

A major new transportation route is proceeding right on schedule.

Officials gathered Thursday to mark construction reaching the halfway mark on the new stretch of Highway 97 between Oyama and Winfield. Part of a hillside was blasted off to commemorate the occasion.

“It’s one of the biggest infrastructure projects happening outside of the Lower Mainland right now,” said Norm Letnick, Kelowna-Lake Country MLA.

Work started in May 2011 and the $77.9 million, nine-kilometre project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2013.

The new route will  replace the current highway along Wood Lake, which has been the scene of numerous motor vehicle accidents, including fatalities, over the years.

“It will increase safety for the travelling public and the movement of goods and services,” said Blair Lekstrom, transportation minister.

 

Vernon Morning Star