William R. Bennett Bridge in Kelowna. (File photo)

William R. Bennett Bridge in Kelowna. (File photo)

‘Get a helicopter’: Best West Kelowna-Kelowna commute option up for debate

Locals debates the best way to cross the William R. Bennett Bridge over Reddit

Planes, trains or automobiles – what’s the best way to go about your morning commute from West Kelowna into Kelowna?

None of the above, joked one Kelowna resident on social media platform Reddit recently.

A thread was posted on the Reddit community on May 6 asking for advice as to the fastest way to get from West Kelowna to Kelowna, hoping for some tips and tricks on beating the traffic on the William R. Bennett Bridge.

One reader responded to skip the bridge entirely.

“Either get a helicopter and a license to fly it, or rent one,” reads the response. “Otherwise buy a drone big enough to carry you (or multiple passengers) and which does not require a pilot’s license to operate.”

One of the most popular answers suggests an electric bike. Another simply says, “boat.”

The modern-day version of the bridge opened in May 2008, to replace the old Okanagan Lake Bridge that had stood for the last 50 years. Now, 14 years later, the bridge’s daily traffic sits at about 50,000 vehicles.

A 2016 study of Central Okanagan traffic patterns by the B.C. government found that with employment sectors like trades and healthcare continuing to grow at a rapid rate in the region, the need to commute will continue to grow as well, leading to even more congestion.

The study suggests that by 2040, the bridge will reach its daily capacity and a commute between Peachland and Lake Country will take 15 minutes longer in the morning commute and up to 24 minutes longer in the evening commute.

The population of Central Okanagan itself is estimated to reach 255,000 by 2034 – an increase of more than 36 per cent since 2016.

For those hoping for an alternative route, plans for a second bridge crossing Okanagan Lake were shot down by Kelowna city staff in Oct. 2019, citing a price tag of up to $1 billion.

Reddit may have something after all.

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