The $11.9-million Radium Hot Springs roundabout is coming together as motorists are starting to see a change to the prominent Highway 93/95 intersection.

Cost-shared between the provincial and federal government, with Ottawa contributing $4.8-million to the project, and Victoria giving $7.1-million, Nanaimo’s Copcan Civil Ltd. has already made ample progress.

“There is actually a circle,” said Clara Reinhardt, Mayor of Radium Hot Springs. “It is still operating like a four-way stop but as you get into the circle, you are going around the circle to get to wherever it is that you’re going.”

One of the roundabout concepts for the Highway 93/95 intersection in Radium Hot Spring shared at an Open House with the public Wednesday, September 4, 2019. (Supplied by B.C. Government)

“During even a quiet tourist season there’s been increased traffic so there have been delays, and there have been people getting cranky and people getting impatient,” Reinhardt told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “On the whole, the company’s that got the contract has been extremely professional, they have made good progress.”

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Construction was originally slated to be complete by early December, but Reinhardt said the project is ahead of schedule at the current stage and could be finished sooner.

An important project for the long-term, the Radium Hot Springs roundabout will help traffic flows that have previously been hampered by unexpected highway events.

“The reason that we got the traffic circle was because there is such ebbs and peaks in demand and in traffic flows and you can’t always predict when they are going to be. I mean you can predict a Friday before a long weekend, you can predict a Monday of a long weekend, every Sunday afternoon, you can’t predict when there is going to be highway closures due to avalanche, avalanche control, motor vehicle incidents, and so any time the traffic is re-routed that communication doesn’t always go down the line and that’s when we find out that we’ve got long lines of traffic backed up.”

Construction underway on the Radium Hot Springs roundabout in July, which should be complete by the end of 2020. (Bradley Jones, MyEastKootenayNow.com staff)

“By having the traffic circle, it can adapt really easily,” Reinhardt continued. “The traffic circle will continue to manage the flow of the traffic, where it is coming from or where it is going to, regardless of the time of day or year.”

Another reason for the project is the federal government’s multi-year work on Highway 1 through Kicking Horse Canyon. Forcing closures of the Trans Canada Highway for weeks at a time, the traffic will all be routed through Highway 93/95 and the Radium Hot Springs roundabout. The federal government anticipated traffic will be impacted for 30 weeks in total, and at least 15 weeks every year of construction as they twin the 4.8-kilometre section of road.

The other exciting piece to the project’s progress is the piece of artwork that Radium Hot Springs will be placed in the centre of the traffic circle upon completion.

Reinhardt said Village Council has shortlisted to two artists and will soon make their selection on the winning artist. The hope is that the art piece could be installed by Christmas once the roundabout is fully constructed and operational.