A $1.4 million contract has been awarded to Belvedere Place Contracting Ltd. of Kelowna, to increase the clearance height under the East Pine Bridge, 32 kilometres east of Chetwynd.

The project involves reconstructing 500 meters of Highway 97; lowering the highway by 35 centimetres. This will increase the clearance from 5 metres to 5.35 metres. Work is set to begin in June and be completed by the end of September.

This project follows work already completed in 2011 to the West Pine Overhead, when the clearance below that overpass was increased by 30 centimetres.

As B.C.’s primary north-south route, Highway 97 is an integral part of the provincial highway network for the transport of goods and services, as well as commuters and tourists. Increasing the East Pine Overpass clearance will allow higher and larger loads to pass through and provide transport operators a direct route between Chetwynd and Dawson Creek, avoiding lengthy detours to Hudson’s Hope or Tumbler Ridge.
This project is moving forward as a result of extensive collaboration with the local trucking industry and economic assessment conducted in partnership with the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

The overpass will open new markets for businesses along the entire Highway 97 corridor and the rest of the province by allowing industry to transport large machinery, trailers and other components needed for the agricultural sector and the growing natural gas and resource industry in the Peace Region.