With the recent announcement of the repaving of Highway 95, a 5.5 kilometre stretch from Golden to Nicholson, drivers in the area have to be elated. But, in a time when many are resorting to bicycles opposed to vehicles, what does the repaving mean for local cyclists? Well as a matter of fact, it means quite a bit.
Currently the shoulders along the rough stretch of highway, where most cyclists choose to ride, are quite rough and are not totally paved all the way through. In fact, the current shoulder width varies from 0.6 metres to 2 metres in width; most of the the road’s shoulder is closer to 0.6 metres, not that great for biking.
The good news is that the repaving of the highway is not only going to make the road much smoother and in turn safer, it will also feature 2-metre shoulders throughout.
“The highway itself was beginning to come to the end of its life, so repaving it is important at this time. The new paved section is also going to feature much wider shoulders (2 metres) from Golden to Nicholson,” Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Operations Manager for the Rocky Mountain District, Arthur McClean said.
Besides the much more enjoyable surface for drivers on the stretch of Highway 95, the roadway will also conform to Golden’s mantra of active transportation.
“I think the skinny shoulders certainly frightened people enough to not feel completely comfortable in biking from Nicholson into Golden. But, with the wider shoulders, I believe that active transportation between the two communities will increase,” Co-ordinator for Golden Active Transportation, Luke Nichols explained.
“I’m really glad that the section of the highway is getting repaved. In its current state, it is not the most pleasant of highways to drive on. There have been a few locals that have recently told me that they are not very pleased with the shape of the highway. I think, once complete, many regular drivers will be very satisfied with the end result,” Mayor Christina Benty said.
Construction is to commence this spring, potentially in June, and is projected to be complete by August 30th. Okanagan Aggregates Ltd. (O.A.L.) from Armstrong, BC will be in charge of the $1.5-million job. According to O.A.L., the work will cause minor delays throughout the process, as during working hours, the stretch of highway will be limited to a single lane at a reduced speed.
By the end of August, drivers and cyclists in the area should be extremely satisfied with the short stretch of highway from Golden to Nicholson.
“The end result will provide a good surface for the safe transportation of goods and people along the highway,” McClean added.
“For Golden to really accelerate the idea of active transportation, we all have to literally get out there. For us to receive more bike paths, in different areas, more people have to use what we already have. The widened shoulders on the upcoming section of Highway 95 will be a great start for people looking to become more active,” Nichols concluded.