VICTORIA, B.C – The province is expanding cellular service along 68 kilometres of Highway 97, from Chetwynd to the Highway 39 junction.
On Monday, Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services, announced up to $5.47 million through the Connecting British Columbia program will be provided to Rogers Communications to fill cellular gaps along the highway. The project is expected to cost approximately $6.4 million.
Rogers will also receive over $750,000 for a cellular project on Highway 95 to improve cellular access for people in rural and Indigenous communities.
“While miles apart, these two highways have many things in common. They can have difficult winter driving conditions, they’re prone to sudden road closures, and they have large gaps without cellular service,” says Beare.
In total, 90 km of new coverage will be provided, from Golden to Spillimacheen along Highway 95 and from Pine Pass to Chetwynd along Highway 97.
Both cellular projects are expected to be completed by October.
District of Chetwynd Mayor Allen Courtoreille notes the importance of cell service along Pine Pass, which is prone to avalanche conditions.
“When conditions are bad, such as during a storm, it can be a dangerous road to navigate. Bringing cell service to Highway 97 and Pine Pass will immediately make the route safer by enabling people to call for help during an emergency and for first responders to locate and support them,” says Courtoreille.
Service will also be made available at the West Pine rest area and Powder King Mountain Resort.
“We can’t change the weather, but we can make strategic investments to help expand highway cellular service in B.C. With these latest projects, we are on track to more than triple our target to increase highway cellular coverage, making our highways safer than ever before,” says Beare.
To date, the program has expanded cell service along 429 kilometres of highways in B.C., according to the province.
Northern Development Initiative Trust delivers the Connecting British Columbia program to assist service providers with expansion costs and improve cellular access in rural and Indigenous communities.
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