An upgrade to Highway 6 is being described as a life-saver.
A celebration was held Friday to mark the realignment completed between Ricardo and Grey roads in Coldstream in November.
“It’s a major connector in Coldstream and improving safety is important,” said Mayor Jim Garlick.
Between 2000 and 2009, there were 119 reported crashes, primarily at the old corner of Highway 6 and Kalamalka Road. Annual traffic volumes amount to about 9,000 vehicles per day.
Kevin Acton, Lumby’s mayor, remembers responding to accidents on the old route when he was a paramedic.
“I picked people off of the side of the road. The corner was a huge danger and a huge risk,” he said.
A new section of highway now sits to the north, allowing motorists to travel along Highway 6 safely and to access Kalamalka Road more easily.
“It’s a project we wanted for a long time,” said Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, who lobbied for the work while on Lumby council in the 1980s.
The 2.2-kilometre project cost $11 million to complete and besides improving safety, it’s expected to benefit Coldstream’s economy.
“It will open up industrial lands at Ricardo Road and industrial lands beyond this (to the east),” said Garlick.
With this project done, the District of Coldstream now wants the Ministry of Transportation to move ahead with other initiatives on Highway 6 – at King Edward Road and between Aberdeen and Grey roads.
“It will come but this was the key piece we had to look at,” said Foster, adding that the provincial government must consider finances and other requests across B.C. before agreeing to more upgrades.