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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A paving project on the Alaska Highway caused headaches for motorists earlier this week, after the construction resulted in commute times between Fort St. John and Dawson Creek that were more like those in the Lower Mainland.

B.C. Ministry of Transportation spokeswoman Danielle Pope said that the resurfacing work underway on Highway 97 between the Kiskatinaw River Bridge and the South Taylor Hill is part of a $4.6-million contract to resurface sections of Highways 97 and 2. Pope said that on Monday, the contractor was active between Braden Road and Tower Lake and used single-lane-alternating traffic to move vehicles safely around the resurfacing project. However, traffic volume was heavier than anticipated, which resulted in longer than normal delays.

Our reporter witnessed traffic at a standstill in a line stretching nearly eight kilometres, from the location of the paving near Tower Lake Road, all the way south over the Kiskatinaw Bridge to the 245 Road north of Farmington. Our reporter experienced a southbound delay of approximately 45 minutes, while received reports of northbound travel times between Dawson Creek and Fort St. John of up to two and a half hours. The normal travel time between the two communities is approximately one hour.

In an email, Pope said that the ministry is monitoring the project closely, and that should the queue become longer than 15 to 20 minutes work crews will temporarily cease activities to clear backed-up traffic. She added that the roadwork is expected to be completed by the end of September.

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