Paving, watermain replacement on the work list

Nearly $9 million worth of work along Highways 16 and 97 in and around Prince George are in the job jar for this paving season, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said Wednesday.

Over eight kilometres of Highway 16 will be resurfaced between 20th Avenue and the Old Cariboo Highway, as well as nearly 20 kilometres of Highway 97 between the Salmon River Bridge and O'Dell Road and 15 kilometres of Upper Fraser Road.

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In partnership with the city, the ministry will also resurface 130 metres of 11th Avenue between Vancouver and Victoria streets.

In all, the ministry is contributing $8.9 million and the city $32,000 with the work to begin in the coming weeks.

The city will also be piggybacking on the work when, on Thursday, a crew takes the opportunity to replace an aging section of watermain at Third Avenue and Victoria Street, kick-starting a strategy to replace the city's oldest, and most break-prone mains along Third between Vancouver and Victoria Streets later this summer.

It is part of a larger program to replace 23 kilometres of the city's oldest watermains. They break at about nine times the rate of those outside the downtown area and are past their 60-year service life, the city said, adding that while they make up only four percent of the city's mains, they account for a third of all breaks.

Other paving projects around the region are set to begin in the coming weeks:

- A passing lane on Highway 16 at Broman Lake, west of Burns Lake, that includes construction of a two-kilometre westbound passing lane, extension of the eastbound passing lane by 400 metres, and improvements to the entry and exit lanes to the brake check and chain off areas at Six Mile Summit (budget: $15 million).

- Construction of a rest area at Savory, east of Burns Lake, with the widening of about 420 metres of Highway 16 to accommodate a deceleration lane and a left-hand turn into the rest area (budget: $2.3 million).

- Resurfacing 29 kilometres of Highway 97 from Whiskers Point to Parsnip River Bridge and 25 kilometres of Highway 39 from the junction of Highway 97 to Mill Road south of Mackenzie(budget: $3 million).

- Resurfacing 18.7 kilometres of Highway 5 from the regional boundary through Avola, south of Blue River (budget: $2.7 million).

- Resurfacing 26.6 kilometres of Highway 16 in the Smithers-Telkwa area from Nouch Road to Fort Telkwa, excluding the Smithers arterial (budget: $3.4 million).

- Resurfacing 68 kilometres on Highway 16 east of Smithers, from Wakefield Road to 6 Mile Hill, excluding the Houston arterial. The project includes resurfacing side roads in and around the Smithers area (budget: $4.1 million).

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