by Dave Preston
The province will be picking up the tab for the long awaited traffic lights, according to Murray Tekano, district manager for the Okanagan/Shuswap region of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI).
Peachland council decided back on January 18 to offer to MOTI to front the estimated $300,000 cost of installing lights at the intersection of Clements and Hwy. 97. MOTI officials had previously told the town that it didn’t have the money in its budget for the lights, but if the town wanted to put the money up front, MOTI would pay back its share over time.
In January, the town’s estimated share was $100,000, with MOTI paying the other two thirds.
“I know the town is willing to pay,” Tekano said in a telephone interview. “I don’t think that’s happening. The province is doing it.”
District staff indicated in January that it would take three to four months of design work and planning before a light could be installed at the intersection. Six months later, no work has begun.
“It is in design right now,” Tekano confirmed. He said he could not offer a timeline as to when the traffic lights will be installed.
Mayor Keith Fielding said he has received several assurances from the ministry that the lights will be installed sometime this year.
Councils past have repeatedly tried to get the ministry to agree to traffic lights at the intersection. Last fall, a Peachland man was killed in a T-bone accident at the intersection, sparking another attempt by local politicians to get the intersection signalled.
Tekano indicated on Tuesday that traffic lights are now required at the Clements/Hwy. 97 intersection because of the impending Ponderosa/Pincushion Ridge development.
Developer Treegroup is required to put in traffic lights at 13th Street and Hwy. 97. At the same time, Ponderosa Road will be moved so it connects to 13th Street.
Both Tekano and Fielding indicated installing lights at both intersections are independent projects and they are not tied together in design or construction.
It was not clear from Tekano if the District of Peachland will still have to pay one third the cost of traffic lights at the Clements intersection.