Bill Bennett, Kootenay East MLA, arrived on a crisp afternoon last week to announce the completion of the Highway 43 resurfacing project.
This project had been removed from the 2011 project list, but brought back by Bennett who said he knew the importance of this highway and the importance of keeping it safe.
“We had been receiving many complaints about Highway 43,” said Bennett. “When the ministry told me the number of trips per day on this road and the high volume of motorists and industrial traffic I knew it was really important to the economy and for travellers.”
Part of the highway from Sparwood to Line Creek was resurfaced with a process known as mill and fill, where asphalt is grinded and reused to resurface the highway, from the Line Creek turnoff to Elkford. A complete resurfacing was done, including the shoulders of the highway.
Ken Wildeman, District of Elkford councillor, explained how residents felt before the resurfacing.
“It was early this spring when residents really started getting upset about the highway,” he said. “People were dodging potholes to the point of being unsafe, and there were a lot of people faced with maintenance costs to their vehicles because of the quality of the road. It was because the residents made their complaints heard, that this project was accelerated and completed.”
Gordon Chudleigh, District Operations Manager for the Ministry of Transportation, said the highway resurfacing will reduce maintenance costs for them and for the public. “When a highway gets to the end of its lifespan it falls apart really fast,” he said. “At times, there is more daily traffic on Highway 43 than there is on Highway 3, so this resurfacing project was really important.”
This project came at a price of 5.2 million dollars, but will extend the life of the highway and ensure the Province gets the most value from its infrastructure investments over the long term.
“Regional Directors do really appreciate all of the money the MLA has brought to the area for road upgrades,” said Mike Sosnowski, RDEK Director, Area A.
Over $1.4 billion has been invested In the Kootenay region since 2001 to improve and maintain roads and bridges, expand transit, broaden cycling networks and expand airports.
“All of these upgrades are welcome projects in the Kootenay region,” said Bennett. “Our highways and bridges are heavily depended on by residents, industry, and tourists. These projects represent a commitment to continued and improved safety in this area of the province.”