The City of Kelowna broke ground on the Bertram Multi-Use Overpass . The new overpass will create a safer, accessible, convenient connection over Highway 97 at Bertram St. for people walking, biking, and rolling. The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2024.

“Today’s milestone represents our commitment to helping better connect communities like Kelowna,” said the Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of Emergency Preparedness, Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, and MP for Vancouver South. “Once complete, the Bertram overpass will provide an accessible, reliable link over the highway for pedestrians and cyclists. The new multi-use overpass will also improve access to green spaces, jobs, transit services, and local businesses, while providing locals with a greener way to get to their destinations. We will continue to deliver funding that makes it easier for Canadians to access essential services and get where they need to go.”

The new pedestrian overpass will link to the larger active transportation network, connecting the future Bertram Active Transportation Corridor (ATC) within Downtown to the existing Sutherland, Abbott and Ethel ATCs in the south and east via the Central Green development.

“The Bertram Multi-Use Overpass will connect neighborhoods, help the environment by cutting down on pollution, and offer more ways for people to get around Kelowna,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Through the Growing Communities Fund, our government is committed to funding projects that ensure safe travel and enhance community connection for everyone. We continue to collaborate with federal and local governments to ensure life is more affordable for British Columbians. We commit to delivering the services that people count on and building a strong, sustainable, and innovative economy that works for everyone.”

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(City of Kelowna)

In addition to improving the connectivity of Kelowna’s Active Transportation Network, the overpass will offer safer access to Highway 97 RapidBus stops.

The Bertram Multi-Use Overpass was designed to offer a safer active transportation route across Highway 97 in one of the most high traffic areas of the city, in order to meet the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike.

“The Bertram Multi-Use Overpass is an exciting project that will link commuters of all abilities to transit, UBC Okanagan’s (UBCO) new downtown campus, businesses, services, parks, employment opportunities, and other amenities on both sides of Highway 97,” said Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas. “This project is an important step towards meeting Kelowna’s growing transportation needs by encouraging more sustainable trips to move around our city, optimizing travel times through the Highway 97 corridor, and providing more safe and accessible transit options to the community. Collectively, these actions allow us to deliver on Council’s Priorities for Transportation as well as Climate and Environment.”

The City of Kelowna’s 2040 Master Transportation Plan and Official community Plan both identify expansions to the Active Transportation Network as a way to take action on climate change by reducing carbon emissions, building healthy neighbourhoods, embracing diverse transportation options and reducing Kelowna’s car dependance by making equitable investment in all travel modes across Kelowna.

The $12 million project undertook a competitive procurement process where a combined team of designer and contractor were engaged to complete a re-design to incorporate new accessibility standards, mitigate the impacts of cost-escalation and de-risk critical elements of the project.

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The project is funded through a partnership between the City of Kelowna, the Government of Canada through the Canada Community Building Fund, administered by Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM), and the Province of B.C. through the Growing Communities Fund. Together, these dollars provide funds for the infrastructure needed to support the current and future growth of Kelowna.

To accommodate the overpass, a portion of the northbound lane on Bertram St., between Highway 97 and Leon Ave. will be closed. The laneway between Leon Ave. and Highway 97 will be closed east of Bertram St. Work is being timed to minimize disruption for adjacent businesses.

Featured image: (L-R) B.C. Municipal Affairs Minister Anne Kang; Mayor Tom Dyas;  Councilor Loyal Wooldridge; Councilor Luke Stack; Councilor Gord Lovegrove; and director of Partnerships and Investments, Derek Edstrom participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Bertram Street Overpass Project, Mar. 8, 2024. (City of Kelowna)

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