According to Gary St. Michael, senior reviewer for Tetra Tech Incorporated, the arterial roads in West Kelowna have substantially deteriorated since 2015. The results of a Tetra Tech Road Study, commissioned by the City of West Kelowna, sites Shannon Lake Road as being one of the worse in West Kelowna.
St. Michael shared the findings of the West Kelowna Road study with city council on June 6th.
St. Michael explained the most recent computer-driven study conducted in 2022 showed the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) for arterial roads has dropped from 72 to 55, indicating fair road conditions while Shannon Lake Road had a PCI of 22, indicating very poor road conditions.
The study went on to conclude that 19% of West Kelowna roads are in a backlog state and need immediate improvement. Industry standards suggest a backlog state of 12% to 15% for a road network is considered manageable from a budgetary and construction point of view.
Councillor Rick DeJong stated, “This is shocking.” and he feels a road analysis study needs to occur more frequently than every seven years. “This is a surprise, we need to capture [road conditions] sooner.”
So where do we go from here?
DeJong referenced the $10.2M recently received from the BC Community Growth Grant. The grant is intended to assist BC communities experiencing rapid growth and infrastructure challenges. “I don’t want to wait until the next budget. A portion of this grant needs to be used to catch up on some of the roads that need it.”
Paul Gipps, chief administrative officer for the City of West Kelowna, clarified that city council could allocate money from a variety of sources including capital works funding and the infrastructure reserve funds.
Rob Hillis, engineering manager for the City of West Kelowna, explained from a budgetary point, road improvements are sometimes deferred if Development Cost Charges (DCC) are expected along a section of roadway. With steady private development projects occurring along Shannon Lake Road, this may explain why the degradation of Shannon Lake Road has not been addressed. Hillis indicated that the City of West Kelowna has the staff and ability to address the needed road improvements if additional funds were made available.
Along with roads improvements, Shannon Lake Road needs active transportation improvements.
The results of a recent Shannon Lake Neighbourhood Association (SLNA) survey showed 92% of residents feel improvements are needed. “With no sidewalks, streetlights, crosswalks, or visible lines on the road, as a pedestrian or cyclist, you really do take your life into your own hands when using this area. Very thankful that nobody has been killed.”, one resident responded in the SLNA survey.
BC Active Transportation Design Guidelines (BC-ATDG) recommend multi-use pathways for roads with speeds of 50 km/h or greater and 4,000 vehicles per day.
The City of West Kelowna proposed 2023 budget includes a $2.2M capital budget request for improvements to Shannon Lake Road in 2024. With additional funds through the $10.2M BC grant and city council’s ability to allocate funds, it is reasonable for residents to expect improvements to Shannon Lake Road as well as its active transportation infrastructure.