Letter to the Editor: How about a Todd Rd / Chidley Rd underpass?

When I moved to Peachland in 2003 there was only one traffic light at Highway 97 and Princeton Ave. As the prospect of four-laning through Peachland became apparent, due to the widening from Summerland to Greata Ranch, I sought for an alternative – how this stretch of highway through town could be improved with the focus being safety, convenience and efficiency of travel for all.

A bypass around Peachland has been studied and its merits analyzed. Four-laning the entire highway through town would be devastating to the local ambiance and quality of life for residents. Current projections indicate that the highway can remain at two lanes until at least 2040. Thus, I propose that the two-lane highway remain, with improvements to access that eliminate the future need to four-lane the highway.

At the present time, most Peachlanders are required to enter and exit Hwy 97 to patronize local businesses and services. The intersection at Trepanier and Desert Pines is particularly dangerous because of the restricted sight lines at the curve in the highway. Directly to the south of this intersection is Todd Road and Chidley Road that also access the highway.

 

The Concept

Locals will no longer need to enter the highway if they are shopping/recreating in Peachland.  At the heart of this concept is the Todd/Chidley Underpass with a Trepanier frontage road.  Both Todd Road and Chidley Road are at relatively low elevations compared to the highway.  I propose that the intersections of Trepanier, Todd, Chidley and Highway 97 be completely redesigned to “Reconnect Peachland”, so the highway does not bisect the town’s commerce.

The existing Trepanier Road intersection would be eliminated. The highway would be shifted to the south to accommodate Trepanier Road continuing parallel, as a frontage road to Clements Crescent, connecting to Chidley Road and Todd Road running under the highway.

This significant, long-term solution, requires two new bridges over Trepanier Creek, one to replace the 2-lane highway bridge and one for the Trepanier frontage road and pedestrian access. As of this writing, there are two significant developments being proposed on either side of this intersection: One at the campground and the other next to Peachland Elementary School.  Each of these will be accessible to each other and the community services if an underpass is built at Todd Road.

Residents of the entire Trepanier Bench area will be able to access Beach Avenue and the IGA shopping centre without having to enter the highway. This proposal also includes easier and safer access to the highway for residents exiting Peachland as well as those entering Peachland from the highway.

I have prepared a conceptual sketch of the proposed improvements as a reference:

 A northbound ramp from Todd Road allows easy access to the highway for Trepanier Bench residents.  An off-ramp from the highway to the frontage road allows easy access to services for highway travellers.  The lights at Highway 97 and Clements Crescent could conceivably be removed as well if the frontage road continues to Ponderosa Drive / 13th Street.

And, a Pedestrian/Cycling overpass at Lang Road/McKay Lane would complete the “Reconnect Peachland” concept, connecting Beach Avenue to the Trepanier Bench stairway (shown in green).

Best Regards,

Kenneth W. Janes, Peachland

Ed note – Ken addressed this letter to Rob Fleming, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as Mayor Cindy Fortin. He gave permission for me to publish this as a letter to the editor..

Written by Kristen Friesen

April 6, 2022

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