KAMLOOPS — It's day one of the West Victoria Reconstruction project and motorists may have to plan their routes differently if they plan to visit the area.
The $13 million project is expected to last until at least next summer and will involve utility upgrades, road reconstruction and improved pedestrian access.
Meantime, drivers will have to put up with detours and traffic control personnel throughout the first phase of the project.
"We've got a portion of West Victoria Street from basically City Hall to where it merges with Seymour Street that's closed," said Capital Projects Manager, Darren Crundwell. "So, there's two-way directional traffic on Seymour Street right now and a detour by 1st Avenue, and then for westbound traffic they obviously have to turn right and go down Seymour."
Throughout construction, the city plans to keep businesses and motorists informed about changes to the traffic pattern.
"Communication is one of the top priorities on this project," Crundwell said. "We've got basically a full-time communications person working with us, the contractor also has a full-time communications person. We're using social media, weekly email updates to stakeholders, advertising, every form of communication we can to get out changes in the schedule, changes in the traffic patterns, anything like that."
There are also a couple of webcams that show the progression of the project and traffic congestion.
"We were watching them this morning, it seems to be flowing well and the merge at Seymour Street, it looks like people are getting the zipper merge," Crundwell said.
The first stage is expected to be completed by mid-July, at which point crews will be focusing on opposite sides of West Victoria.
"Stage two will be on the south side, stage three will be on the north side and then stage four is work closer to the Overlanders Bridge," Crundwell said.
Originally, the city was anticipating the project to last a full two years. Now, they're hoping the reconstruction will be completed by next summer.
"We think we've got a schedule and a plan that allows us to get out much quicker than we had anticipated," Crundwell said. "So we had originally told the public it would be a full two years, like I said I hope we're done by next summer."
While the city is asking anyone who can avoid the area to do so, they also want the public to know that businesses are open and need to be supported during construction.
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