The proposed Interconnector would include rebuilding the Quesnel River Bridge and the Quesnel Rail Crossing north of the existing structures, and may require the acquisition of several North Quesnel properties. (Melanie Law photo)

Proposed Quesnel interconnector moves beyond preliminary design stage

MOTI to prepare business case for provincial leaders, showing cost and scope of Highway 97 project

Melanie Law

Special to the Observer

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) has completed its preliminary design for the proposed Quesnel North-South Interconnector, which would allow traffic on Highway 97 to flow around the city’s downtown core.

A MOTI spokesperson said via e-mail that the ministry’s website will be updated mid-August 2020 with new information, including 3D-modelling images of the proposed interconnector.

With this phase of the project completed, MOTI must next complete a full business case to put before provincial leaders in order to seek funding to build the Interconnector. MOTI’s spokesperson did not indicate when the business case will be completed.

The proposed Interconnector would see a new four-lane highway turn off Front Street between Gordon Avenue and River Park Road and re-connect to Highway 97 on the east side of the Quesnel River. The project would include rebuilding the Quesnel River Bridge and the Quesnel Rail Crossing north of the existing structures, and may require the acquisition of several North Quesnel properties, according to the ministry’s North-South Interconnector Question and Answer document.

The Q&A document says the Quesnel River Bridge is “too narrow [and does] not meet height and width restrictions for overloaded trucks.” The structure is almost 60 years old. “The Quesnel River Bridge and the Quesnel Rail Crossing Bridge need replacement as they are both coming to the end of their service life,” states the document.

When asked via e-mail what will happen to the bridges should MOTI not receive funding to go ahead with the Interconnector, a ministry spokesperson stated “the bridges would continue to be monitored and maintained.”

MOTI estimates the cost of the proposed North-South Interconnector could be more than $275 million.

The Interconnector project was approved for preliminary design after the 2018 Quesnel Transportation Study investigated alternate route options for the city.

Four other possible routes were examined by MOTI during the 2018 Transportation Study; however, the proposed route was ultimately chosen by the provincial body. It received more than 80 per cent support after community engagement sessions and stakeholder meetings in spring 2018, although a group of citizens have been vocal in their opposition to the project, citing traffic noise, environmental impacts, and loss of North Quesnel property as main concerns.

MOTI has promised to negotiate fair land settlements for those affected, should the project get the green light.

READ MORE: Majority of MOTI survey respondents in favour of North-South Interconnector

At a March 2018 City Council meeting, MOTI project managers indicated the preliminary design and business case stages of the project could take up to five years to finalize. If approved, funding will then be sought from federal and provincial governments.

READ MORE: Ministry of Transportation moves forward with North-South Interconnector

“We are committed to meeting the long-term transportation needs for the people of Quesnel and the Highway 97 corridor,” said the MOTI spokesperson.

Earlier this month, motorists were stuck in traffic for several hours after an out-of-town semi truck struck and damaged the rail on the Quesnel River Bridge.

Quesnel RCMP have since located the driver and the investigation into the incident is continuing.

Meanwhile, damage to the bridge is estimated at more than $120,000. A city water line was also damaged.

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo North MLA ‘deeply disappointed’ in early election call

Coralee Oakes says there has been unprecedented co-operation in Victoria during the pandemic

Quesnel RCMP respond to three gun-related calls, including drive-by shooting, in five days

Sgt. Richard Weseen says the Quesnel RCMP has seized more than 17 firearms in the month of September

Williams Lake First Nation inks historic cannabis deal with B.C. government

The agreement paves the way for WLFN to sell cannabis to the government, and open stores across B.C.

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association CEO Amy Thacker named to provincial Tourism Task Force

The Province is allocating $50 million in the Economic Recovery Plan to implement new measures

Cariboo Regional District hopes to build low mobility trail at Pioneer Park

The regional district is applying for federal funding for trail construction and site upgrades

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Most Read