Paving started on Monday on Columbia Avenue in Castlegar (Photo: John Boivin

Paving begins on Columbia Ave; be patient for worker safety

Just about two weeks remaining for the project to rebuild the city’s main drag

For long-suffering Castlegar drivers, the light can be seen at the end of the tunnel of the Columbia Avenue project— and it’s coming from a paving machine.

Workers began applying the top surface to the busy road Monday, starting the final phase of the six-month-long project.

Residents expressed their relief on Castlegar News’ Facebook page.

“We live right in the middle of this — don’t know how much more vibrating our place can handle!” Jean Hitchens wrote. “Definitely have to re-level the trailer!”

“I know it needed to be done and construction takes time and I am thrilled it is coming to an end,” said John Sloot. “My little car isn’t made for six months of rough road.”

But drivers will have to put up with a little more delay, and single-lane alternating traffic. After paving, there’s still curb work, landscaping, and putting the final touches on the six blocks of improved roadway. The $7 million project is not only seeing the road surface reshaped and re-paved, but is doing important underground infrastructure work including laying new fibre-optic cable.

A spokesperson for Marwest, the company handling the project, is again asking drivers to be patient.

“When you have all this equipment, crew and vehicles on the road, safety is a huge concern, the push to complete this project means that there are several entities working in the same area, at the same time,” says Stephanie Allen-Pelletier. “In order to work safely, single lane traffic is a must. Also, with the weather changing, asphalt and concrete have to get down while the weather is on the warmer side.”

The alternating traffic will be in effect from Monday to Saturday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The project is slated to be completed on November 23, about five weeks behind schedule.

“Weather depending,” cautions Allen-Pelletier. “If the weather continues to be on the warmer side, we are looking good.”

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