Anyone who has been stuck in the horrible traffic jams lately probably thinks they will all go away when the new bridge, or rather modified bridge is finally built. Nothing could be further from the truth. By the time it opens this modified bridge will have cost Two Hundred Million dollars and be obsolete the day it opens. It’s hard to believe that supposedly intelligent people are involved in this stupid project when the pitfalls are obvious. This brain cramp started long ago when then Mayor Jim Stuart was quoted as saying we didn’t even need to look at a new bridge until at least 2010. What was he thinking? This idiocy continues today, when staff said construction on the bridge wouldn’t delay traffic. I guess because traffic is already standing still, it can’t be delayed anymore than it is. And at this late date they don’t even have a plan for emergency vehicles? Duh!
What Kelowna, and the Okanagan, needs now and has needed for the last ten years, and will need even more in the future is a NEW bridge with a bypass. This will get all of the through traffic, mostly commercial vehicles, through the area much quicker and ease congestion on the already packed Highway 97. Make the new bridge a toll bridge to both pay for it, and to earn ongoing revenue to maintain it, all the users expense, not the taxpayers. The existing bridge can then handle the local traffic without the chaos that currently exists. Imagine the cost of all those cars, campers, RVs, and commercial vehicles sitting in traffic jams, both fuel and wages, not to mention lost time and frustration. It’s only a matter of time before someone dies in that mess.
We are very lucky that the Okanagan attracts so many tourist dollars to support our local economy. How insulting it is to them to have it take them hours to just get into Kelowna. After all this money spent we’ll still have a traffic nightmare and we’ll still need a new bridge. Nothing has been solved. We should expect better of our planners and politicians.