The Role of Highway 97
Should it change?
Highway 97 is the “spine” of the transportation network in the Central Okanagan and currently performs many functions: supporting goods movement in, out and through the area, carrying local, inter-regional and inter-provincial traffic of all kinds, including transit, providing local access to residential, employment, educational, and commercial centres, delivering virtually unlimited access to the local and regional road networks, and offering the only practical route between communities on opposite sides of Okanagan Lake. Many of these functions are incompatible with one another, leading to operational conflicts, overload and congestion.
A provincial highway emphasizes trips that are of provincial significance. In the Central Okanagan, the primary role of Highway 97 is to connect the region’s communities, regional/provincial activity centres and other provincial highways, including trips for commuting.
Should the nature of Highway 97 change? Should access points be restricted to allow longer-distance traffic to move more freely? Should the alignment of the provincial highway be moved? Should it bypass the region? What should happen to the existing facility? These are among the many questions the Ministry must consider in the development of future options.