MERRITT, B.C. – A new rest area will be built between Merritt and Kelowna, B.C., providing truckers and tourists alike a safe place to stop along the Okanogan Connector stretch of highway.
“We recognize that rest areas are extremely important for truck drivers and the general public who are on the road for long hours, as they need a safe, clean place to stop and have a rest,” said transportation and infrastructure minister Todd Stone. “That’s why today we’re committing an additional $9 million in funding to upgrade existing rest areas around the province, and ensure that new rest areas, such as this one that will be constructed at the Loon Lake Interchange on Highway 97C, will be built to a modern standard with running water, flush toilets and ample room for commercial trucks to park.”
A new access road to the rest area will be constructed, along with improvements to the existing Loon Lake interchange on Hwy 97C. The rest area will also include separate parking areas for commercial trucks and passenger vehicles, and has been designed for potential future upgrades, such as car charging stations and wifi.
“(B.C. Trucking Association) BCTA has advocated for more and better rest areas for commercial vehicle drivers since 2011,” said BCTA president and CEO Louise Yako. “When the highway is your workplace, you should be able to rely on safe, clean, well-lit rest areas at strategic locations with room to park. We’re pleased the Province heard our concerns, acknowledged the need to improve the number and quality of amenities available, and consulted directly with drivers. We look forward to seeing upgrades and the new rest area on Highway 97C.”
This announcement comes following results of a January 2016 survey that found truck drivers want more rest areas, better rest areas and the addition of commercial services, like convenience stores, fuel and shower facilities, at rest areas.
The B.C. government’s $9 million investment will also include upgrades to existing rest areas, including washroom, lighting and accessibility improvements.