On Time + On Budget


The Voght Street redevelopment is on budget and on schedule to complete Fall 2024.

The City understands how this construction work and traffic interruption impacts vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and the businesses that depend on this vital arterial route.

Considering all factors, from budget to availability of suppliers, the current reconstruction of this vital route is essential. As challenging as road construction can be for users, the complexities of this particular project in a constrained area with few alternate routes is a necessity for the long-term viability of the community. No change in operations related to this job site are planned.

The City would like to remind residents that this is an active worksite, under the control of the contractor. While the City may convey the concerns of citizens to the contractor, the City does not dictate the specifics of how the contractor performs the work.

Please be patient. Please do not use the sidewalks or enter into the work area at any time except by motor vehicle.  And please take into consideration the safety of the worksite and follow the instructions of flaggers.



The City of Merritt was incorporated in 1911. Many of the roadways and underground infrastructure are beyond their anticipated lifespan and are well overdue for renewal. This is evidenced by numerous pothole repairs and relatively frequent watermain leaks throughout the city.

With a limited industrial tax base, the City of Merritt does not have the resources to maintain our roadways to levels comparable to larger cities. The City has traditionally relied on funding grants from the Provincial and Federal governments to augment its Capital Improvement budget.

The progress in the redevelopment of city streets is a direct reflection of the available budget and resources.


Voght Street, a vital arterial route, was identified as one of the key roads designated for full reconstruction, including new water, sewer, active transportation paths, sidewalks, storm sewer, storm pond, and pavement.  In 2020, the City received provincial funding to complete road works from Nicola Highway to the Police Station.  In 2023, the City received additional provincial funding to complete roadworks from about the Police Station to the Hospital, with a planned construction schedule of Fall 2023 to Fall 2024. The City is continuing to seek funding opportunities to complete the entire roadworks from about the Hospital to River Ranch Road.

Other recent roadworks on Voght Street included a watermain break in November 2022, which meant that road users had to drive over a damaged road for months before asphalt companies would again be open for operations in Spring 2023.

The current planned Phase 2 Voght Street roadworks are on time and on budget.


Planned reconstruction, combined with unplanned watermain breaks, has seen Voght Street under some level of roadworks for years. Roadworks at anytime are invariably disruptive, affecting vehicle traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, residents, visitors, and area businesses.

The City has received multiple and continued complaints from citizens and businesses about the negative impacts that Voght Street has had and is having on the community.  It impacts business prosperity. It impacts visitor attraction efforts.  It impacts effective transportation, including significant detours for pedestrian and cycling traffic. It impacts area residents by consequent traffic diversions.

While the project is on time and on budget, the length of the project (compounded with watermain failures) has led to numerous fallacious and damaging social media comments, questioning the competency of the work crews or project management decisions.

As challenging as roadworks can be, each and every step of the project(s) has been crucial ….  from watermain repairs in the middle of the night in freezing temperatures to the complete reconstruction of an aging roadway. The amount of work to be done is significant. It is not as simple as resurfacing a roadway.  And timelines, such as asphalt resurfacing, are affected by seasonal services such as asphalt supply and laydown that are only available during warmer weather and based on the availability of non-resident contractors. (Read more about typical road construction below).

While the City of Merritt would like to minimize disruption to its citizens, it also recognizes that complete road reconstruction, with new underground infrastructure, is a time-consuming necessity.  It also recognizes that we are bound by budget limitations, competing supplies, and the schedules of available contractors. The reality is that the City does not have access to unlimited, or even local, resources, and it does not have the funds to pay for premium fast-track service levels.

The reality is that the work being done is the most efficient use of resources within our means. As such, the City cannot make changes to its planned Voght Street reconstruction project(s).


  • Be patient. Everyone is frustrated with the inconvenience of traffic delays. To help reduce traffic congestion, consider taking alternative routes, which while longer in distance might not be longer in time.
  • Be mindful of residents and pedestrians on alternative routes. Slow down and keep safety in mind.
  • Do not use this active construction site unless in a road-authorized motor vehicle. Pedestrian, bicycle, or even scooter safety is not possible on this section of road. While we understand that public pedestrian access is a major inconvenience, there is simply no safe alternative. At no time, should a cyclist or pedestrian venture into the work area or walk around barricades, especially while heavy machinery is in action.
  • Follow the directions of flaggers. For public safety as well as work crew safety, do not ignore barricades, signage or the instructions of flaggers.
  • Understand that the worksite is the responsibility of the contractor. It is not controlled by the City.
  • Accept that work crews are performing to industry standard. The project is on time and on budget.  Finally, understand that there will be no changes to the current construction schedule, which ends Fall 2024.



Roads may appear simple to construct and maintain, but in reality, they involve intricate engineering and design processes. Considerations include managing underground utilities and aging infrastructure, adapting to variable environmental conditions, and obtaining permits and approvals from entities such as Fortis or BC Hydro.

Moreover, not all roads are created equal. Arterial roads necessitate designs capable of withstanding high volumes of traffic and heavy vehicles, unlike residential streets, which do not require the same level of robustness. Additional factors such as curves, inclines, sightlines, and overall road safety must also be taken into account.

While techniques may vary based on design specifications, typical elements of road construction include a substructure comprised of compacted earth, sand, and crushed rock for strength and drainage. This is followed by layers of free-draining granular base and a binder course, culminating in a strong and impermeable asphalt-wearing surface. Beneath these layers lie pipes and underground utilities, typically positioned approximately 6-8 feet underground.


Although most roads have a designed lifespan of around 20 years, with regular maintenance and rehabilitation, they can endure for 50 to 70 years. Maintenance extends beyond merely filling potholes; it involves recoating streets with a topcoat of new asphalt every 8-10 years depending on use. Arterial roads experiencing high volumes of traffic, like Voght Street, often require more frequent topcoats.

Resurfacing or resealing roads with asphalt helps repel moisture that could seep into cracks, leading to potholes. Despite efforts to ensure a solid substrate during construction, the impact of underground water and the cycle of freezing and thawing can stress the entire road system, potentially resulting in damage.

Asphalt work, whether for pothole repair or road resurfacing, is typically scheduled during warm and dry weather when most asphalt companies operate. While temporary patching materials may be used for potholes in winter, these materials often require subsequent repairs due to poor bonding.


Road construction projects face numerous challenges. Budget constraints pose a significant hurdle, as faster construction within tight timelines often incurs higher costs compared to projects with longer timelines. Communities with substantial industrial tax bases typically have budgets conducive to comprehensive and expedited road construction.

Challenges in small, remote communities revolve around securing contractors and supplies from neighboring regions due to limited local availability. These communities also contend with larger municipalities for resources, leading to scheduling conflicts and reliance on external contractors.

Underground surprises frequently complicate road construction, with actual construction sometimes deviating from detailed plans. Changes and repairs, often undertaken by external contractors amidst personnel changes, exacerbate these challenges. Additionally, the presence of underground infrastructure belonging to other entities, such as gas or electricity, further complicates projects, potentially resulting in unexpected delays.

Traffic management is one of the greatest factors affecting road users. The contractor endeavours to maintain road access and limit impacts to residents, while fulfilling the needs of the project, all while trying to follow safe work procedures, and keep the public safe.


Traffic Speed

The posted speed limit on Parker and Juniper Drives is 50 km/h. Traffic speed reports from the RCMP and CPO show the average speed on this collector route at 40 to 45km/h. The City has no plans to change the speed limit for this important collector route. However, when Voght Street construction detours are in place, the speed limit will be posted at 30km/h.

Area residents are asking road users to slow down. The City encourages all citizens to be mindful of residents and children in the area.



Voght Street Upgrade

FALL 2023 to FALL 2024

Starting fall 2023, the City will commence Part One of the phase two upgrade of Voght Street, from Blackwell Avenue to Grimmett Street near the Nicola Valley Hospital entrance.  This full reconstruction project includes new water, sewer, active transportation paths, sidewalks, storm sewer, storm pond, and pavement. (Note that this part of the project does not include intersection improvements; the current geometry will remain). This work will continue until fall 2024.

Traffic will be reduced to single-lane alternating during the workdays for the bulk of the project. The contractor intends to leave the site open for two-way traffic overnight and on weekends. Hours of work are generally 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, with traffic controls in place shortly before and after each work day.

Note that when the ground freezes (at any time from late November to March), road construction work must cease. During these shutdown periods, Voght Street will open to 2-way traffic on a gravel surface with warning and speed reduction signage in place. Also note that asphalt paving will only occur in the warmer months when asphalt companies are operating and available.

If and when construction requires a detour, traffic will be diverted along the Parker Drive and Juniper Drive collector corridor.  When a detour is in place, temporary speed reduction signs of 30 km/h will be posted.  When no detours are in place, this important collector route will return to its regular posted speed limit of 50 km/h.


The project is on schedule to complete in FALL 2024.  The project is also under budget.

When funding is available, Part Two of the Voght Street upgrade will continue the main alignment work from the hospital entrance to Belshaw Street/River Ranch Road. Part Three of the upgrade will cover the roundabouts at two intersections: Grimmett Street and Walters Street. The entire project includes active transportation pathways, water, sewer, storm drains, as well as paving.