Rail trail construction in fall

The first phase of construction on the Okanagan Rail Trail will begin sometime this fall.

That, according to Andrew Gibbs, inter-jurisdictional development team project manager for the Rail Trail project.

Gibbs gave Kelowna city council an update Monday on where the project sits.

As per the purchase agreement signed two years ago, Gibbs says all deconstruction and remediation work have been successfully completed by CN Rail.

“Preliminary design is underway. We are expecting it to be complete by the end of July, and we will update the cost estimate at that time,”said Gibbs.

“As part of the preliminary design, we will have a public consultation process in each community.”

He says following the design process, the project will be put out to tender.

“Construction will have to begin then (fall) because we have a number of grants, some of which are due at the end of November, and some at the end of March next year.

“It’s very much a fast-track project for the first phase. It will be undertaken in phases, largely due to funding and permitting.”

Gibbs says the scope of the trail remains the same. A basic trail, 4.6 metres wide, using compacted aggregate along the whole width and the whole length.

The first phase in Kelowna will run from Dilworth Drive out to Airport Way. And, while it will be done in compacted aggregate, Gibbs says the city’s transportation group are contemplating a budget request for 2018 to asphalt that section.

As for fundraising, Gibbs says more than half of the anticipated $7.6 million required has been raised through the Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative.

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