By Steve Hubrecht 

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Invermere’s main street has been in a sorry state for most of this spring. But it is finally set for a full repaving, not just having potholes refilled.

The work is set to begin as this issue of the Pioneer heads off to press, and by the time it comes out on newsstands, it should be in full swing.

Many residents have gotten used to the occasional bump or two (or 10) while driving or biking along 7th Avenue (Invermere’s main street). But this spring it seems particularly bad. So much so in fact that Invermere resident Kathleen O’Neill felt compelled to come to a recent Invermere council meeting to find out what could be done about it.

O’Neill has been living in Invermere’s CastleRock subdivision for more than a decade, and she knows that main street — and many other roads in the district — can be a tad uneven, especially right after winter. Still, “it’s never been this bad,” she told the Pioneer.

How bad? Bad enough that O’Neill and her partner Ben Mitchell-Banks are not able to ride their motorcycles on main street as they usually do. It may not be the most scientific measure of the state of a road, but it is a very telling one.

“You do feel the bumps more on two wheels than on four, but right now it’s worse than we’ve ever seen it,” she said, adding that potholes have been patched on 7th Avenue in the past “but it really needs to be properly redone.”

As it turns out, that’s exactly what the District of Invermere is doing — repaving 7th Avenue from the intersection at Sobey’s and the Columbia Valley Centre (4th Street) all the way down to 13th Street (the offset four-way intersection commonly known as ‘Disfunction Junction’). 

The stretch from 4th Street to 9th Street (by AG Valley Foods) will be partially resurfaced, while the rest of main street (i.e. through the main downtown core) will be completely resurfaced. And, depending on the budget, the repaving may even stretch a block or two farther, all the way to 15th Street.

“It (main street) is pretty rough. There has been some significant frost heaving, I think,” conceded Invermere Mayor Al Miller. “It’s been a long time, it is in need of an upgrade.”

As of press time, the work was set to begin on Tuesday, April 16 and to wrap up sometime between Monday, April 22 and Friday, April 26. Each day a different section of main street will be completely closed off to traffic so the work can be done.

Miller lauded Invermere director of public works and operations Angela MacLean for getting the paving company — Terrace Paving — to do the work early in the shoulder season. “It is well before we start to see the heavy tourist traffic, and we are very pleased about that,” said Miller.

The main street repaving will cost roughly $450,000. The district has a paving budget of $540,000 this year. The extra $90,000 in that budget will be spent paving a few other spots needing fixing around town — Pineridge Drive near Westridge Way, 15th Avenue near Westside Park, and the tennis courts next to the old Canadian Pacific Rail (CPR) Lodge.