Kamloops city council, TRU admin meet to discuss Summit overpass

TRU and city council still committed to overpass, despite delays

If you build it, they will cross… safely.

East Village residents’ days tempting fate while crossing Summit Drive may soon end thanks to a proposed overpass. Its location remains unclear, however, following statements from a TRU delegation at Kamloops City Council on Tuesday.

Brett Fairbairn, TRU president and vice-chancellor, led the delegation asking the city to give the university more time to determine a site for a pedestrian overpass. TRU is conducting an ongoing third-party study to assess the best location, which will conclude in April.

“The McGill-Summit intersection is the third-worst in Kamloops for crashes… The proposed multi-use overpass will separate pedestrians and cyclists from vehicle traffic, helping to safeguard all users — but that safety promise becomes real if this structure is actually used,” Fairbairn said during the council meeting. “If we build it in the wrong location, it will greatly reduce the safety impact.”

Kamloops and TRU previously agreed that the city would fund half of a $10 million project. However, the council wants the project location to be confirmed, and they were unaware of TRU’s ongoing study as they feel extensive research has already occurred.

Studies were conducted in 2012 and 2022, but Fairbairn said this final study is necessary to ensure the overpass will be constructed in the best location given the physical changes the campus has undergone in recent years.

“We are concerned that the 2012 study is outdated as it preceded the development of hundreds of units of housing on both sides of Summit Drive,” Fairbairn said. “The 2022 study did not take a fresh look at location, but instead relied on the 2012 location analysis.”

Fairbairn said that this ongoing study would not impact the construction timeline, which is tentatively set for 2025.

The alternate location this study may favour would be farther south, placing it closer to the intersection, though Fairbairn wants to wait for the findings before deciding.

“If it were shown that a location more distant from the intersection would still considerably relieve that intersection, then we would be willing to go with that northern location,” Fairbairn said.

Council was unaware of the new study until recently and sent a letter to TRU asking for an explanation before Mar. 1, prompting Fairbairn’s appearance on Tuesday.

Councilor Katie Neustaeter said during the meeting that although she values the relationship with TRU, she hopes they will have better communication in the future.

“I think it’s a high priority for us… that the location does not move substantially as we look at serving a hundred thousand people and [are] growing on mass,” Neustaeter said.

Kamloops City Council voted to send another letter to TRU to thank them for the delegation and request collaboration on this study going forward. Results of the study are expected by the end of April, but Fairbairn says the university’s priorities remain clear.

“TRU’s number one concern is the safety of all city residents. Let’s make the right decision. We don’t get to change our mind after an infrastructure asset is constructed,” Fairbairn said.