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Okanagan Rail Trail Work


Construction Update - October 2 - RDNO Rail Trail Section Set to reopen in time for Thanksgiving Weekend

The RDNO is set to reopen the northern section of the Okanagan Rail Trail before the Thanksgiving long weekend that begins on October 10, 2020. Before it can reopen, however, the full closure will extend to the Kickwillie entrance to allow crews to improve accessibility and enhance safety for trail users utilizing the Westkal Parking Lot. Starting October 5, the entrances at Kickwillie & Westkal will be inaccessible, with the entire north section (KM 0 to KM 12.5) reopening on October 10, 2020.

The RDNO began its fall 2020 erosion mitigation project on September 21, and since the work involved excavating and rebuilding sections, a full 24/7 closure of KM 4 to KM 12.5 was necessary.

This work is a part of the RDNO’s long-term planning and maintenance to ensure the trail remains safe and enjoyable for years to come. Since the Okanagan Rail Trail runs alongside lakes, it is expected that erosion maintenance work will occur throughout the life of the trail.

Construction of the public washrooms at the Kickwillie entrance to the trail will continue after the erosion project is complete, so parking will remain limited at the Kickwillie Loop and Westkal Road trail entrance. The washrooms are expected to be finished by the end of the year. Trail users are encouraged to park at the parking lot at Coldstream Station, 16506 Kalamalka Road, throughout the washroom construction.


Contruction Update - September 23, 2020:

Erosion mitigation and repair work is coming along nicely on the northern section of the Okanagan Rail Trail (KM 4 to 12.5)! With past erosion work, we’ve been able to reopen the trail in the evenings and weekends. As you can see in the photos of the current work, that’s not possible because of the required excavation into the trail.

We’re using a few different methods in damaged sections of the trail so suit the specific needs of each area. Pictured is an engineered erosion solution using a woven geotextile fabric that ties into a welded mesh form. This fabric and mesh system helps stabilize the slope while allowing for vegetation to grow, which is a natural slope stabilizer, and allows water to drain without excess soil runoff. 

We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding and look forward to reopening the northern section of the trail as soon as we can. We expect to be finished in mid-October. 

Closure to Northern Section of the Okanagan Rail Trail to begin next Week

September 18, 2020: More details have been finalized for the fall erosion mitigation work on the RDNO’s section of the Okanagan Rail Trail. Starting Monday, September 21, the section of the trail from 4km – 12.5km will be closed until mid-October. The project will include digging into the trail and rebuilding damaged spots, so the trail will be closed 24/7 throughout the work.

“We understand that this is a disruption to the users of the northern section of the rail trail. We will do our best to complete the work promptly,” said Mike Fox, General Manager of Community Services, RDNO.

Alternative access points remain open south of kilometre 12.5 in Oyama, Lake Country, and Kelowna. And, the Kal Crystal Waters Trail is available as an alternate route connecting Coldstream to Lake Country during this period of construction. View the map of the Kal Crystal Waters trail on our website.

This work is a part of the RDNO’s long-term planning and maintenance to ensure the trail remains safe and enjoyable for years to come.

Updates will be posted at www.rdno.ca/ortwork, and we will continue to share the information through the Okanagan Rail Trail Facebook page, so Okanagan Rail Trail users are aware of the scheduling and extent of any temporary trail closures.


Upcoming Erosion Mitigation Work on Okanagan Rail Trail

Septemer 3, 2020: Part of the reason that the Okanagan Rail Trail is so popular is that it runs alongside two emerald green lakes, Kalamalka and Wood Lake. These beautiful neighbours to the trails also cause erosion that eats into the width of the rail trail. Every wave that touches the side of the path takes sand and materials with it, and over time, the pathway becomes narrower, and sloughs occur. Erosion is an ongoing threat to the longevity of the Okanagan Rail Trail, and the RDNO expects to begin its Fall 2020 erosion mitigation project in mid-September, contingent on the receipt of the permits.

This work will require temporary closures to sections of the trail between 4km – 12.5km. Specific dates, times, and sections to be affected will be communicated in the coming weeks as details are finalized and permits are received.

“We would like to remind trail users that the Kal/Crystal Waters Trail is available as an alternate route connecting Coldstream to Lake Country during this period of construction,” said Mike Fox, General Manager of Community Services, RDNO.

This work is a part of the RDNO’s long-term planning and maintenance to ensure the trail remains safe and enjoyable for years to come.

Updates will be posted on this webpage, www.rdno.ca/ortwork.

Pictured: a significant slough on the Okanagan Rail Trail that began in 2020. The slough has narrowed the trail, made the nearby section unstable, and if not dealt with as soon as possible, it will get worse. The slough was caused by wave action during high water levels.


Washroom Construction

July 8, 2020: The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) will begin construction of a washroom building on Okanagan Rail Trail on Thursday, July 9, 2020.

Following the Okanagan Rail Trail Master Plan which will be finalized within the next several months, this project will provide a modest but architecturally interesting washroom building for Okanagan Rail Trail users. With two fully-equipped universal stalls, a dog water station and a drinking fountain, the structure will be durable, functional and will improve the trail experience for all users.

A simple-to-follow detour will be located around the construction site between the Kickwillie Loop and the Westkal Road trail entrance.

The project is set to be completed by the end of 2020.

Trail users are encouraged to park at the parking lot at Coldstream Station, 16506 Kalamalka Road, as there will be limited parking at the Kickwillie Loop and Westkal Road trail entrance.

Further trail closures will be communicated as project updates are received.

Washroom design: 


Winter Erosion Work

Update, April 16, 2020 - Winter erosion construction is complete. More erosion work will continue in the Fall of 2020. 

Update, March 5, 2020 - Winter erosion construction has been extended to the Kickwillie trail access. Read the Media Release to learn more, and view the updated closure maps below.


Update, January 31 - A winter erosion construction schedule has been issued to begin February 10, 2020. Read the Media Release to learn more, and view the closure map below.

Updates will be posted here as the projects moves forward.


Join us on November 27 at the RDNO 2nd Annual Open House to view updated concept designs for the North Extension, as well as the washroom facilities to be developed near the Westkal Road parking lot!

Unable to attend? Send in your feedback on the concepts by filling out this questionnaire!


Fall Erosion Work

Update, August 30: The Fall erosion construction schedule has been released. Read the media release to learn more, and view the construction schedule and maps below. Click on each pam to view a larger version, or click here to view our information sheet

 


Update, August 22: Part of the reason that the Okanagan Rail Trail is so popular is because it runs alongside two emerald green lakes, Kalamalka and Wood Lake. These beautiful neighbours to the trails also cause erosion that eat into the width of the rail trail. Every wave that touches the side of the path takes sand and materials with it, and over time, the pathway becomes narrower. With less room for two-way pedestrian and bike traffic, safety issues mount and the risk for potential injury rise. The erosion is an immediate threat to the longevity of the Okanagan Rail Trail, and the RDNO will be working on mitigating the erosion in the RDNO owned section beginning in September.

Unfortunately, this will mean inconveniences for our users for the month of September. The work will mean that there will be some days with one-way pedestrian and biking traffic, and no access temporarily to certain portions of the trail for up to 10 hours at a time. The trail will remain open and accessible on evenings by 5pm and all weekends. Special events that have been approved for the Okanagan Rail Trail will not be affected.

While the RDNO prefers to give much more notice of work like this, we received the final permits for all of the work on August 21 and were given a window to finish the work from September 1 to 30. The timeline means we won’t impact Kokanee salmon runs in Kalamalka Lake, which is very important to us. We won’t begin the work until after the Labour Day long weekend but are planning to mobilize to the sites on September 3, 2019.

We expect to receive a more detailed construction schedule at the end of next week (August 30) and will share as soon as we have confirmed details. Updates will be posted at www.rdno.ca/ORTwork.

Background
Past flooding events on Kalamalka Lake led to high water levels that caused serious damage and significantly eroded the Okanagan Rail Trail. The RDNO has been working to secure permits to fix this damage for the last few years, and have finally received the final approvals on August 21, 2019.

Winter Erosion Work

Additional erosion mitigation work will be underway this winter on narrow sections when less people are accessing the Okanagan Rail Trail to limit disruptions. Additional information on these sections will be brought forward as soon as possible, and is outlined in the RDNO’s 2020 capital budget. 

We thank the community and visitors for their patience during this time.


Westkal Parking Lot Paving and North Extension

Update, July 31: The parking area at Westkal Road in Coldstream will be closed starting early August to complete upgrades to sections adjacent to the Okanagan Rail Trail (ORT). Access to the trail will remain open throughout construction, and the parking area will re-open as soon as upgrades are complete.

The major components of these upgrades include increased safety and mitigation of exposed slopes and erosion. The parking area will be paved and there will be designated walking paths from user vehicles to the trail entrance. This will result in a more established parking area, with the trail access points better defined and clearly visible.

Alternate ORT Access Points:

  • The District of Coldstream has recommended that users park in the Coldstream Parking Lot located at 16506 Kalamalka Road.
  • The RDNO has a parking lot on Bailey Road, located at 201 BC-97 that can be utilized by the public, and is a connection between the Kal Crystal Waters trail and the ORT. Please note that this slope is slightly steeper, so users are encouraged to take this into consideration when planning their trip.

Trail users can to visit the interactive map at www.okanaganrailtrail.ca to see parking options.

Next Steps:

The North Extension of the ORT will begin after the Westkal Road parking area is complete. The North Extension is the final stretch of the RDNO’s portion of the trail, and will complete the base trail construction and wayfinding signage.