September 10, 2014 - 10:29 AM
VERNON - Construction begins Tuesday night on a notoriously dangerous stretch of Highway 97, and that means drivers could see some delays.
The Ministry of Transportation is adding $5 million worth of concrete median barriers to separate four lanes of traffic on 11 kilometres of highway between Vernon and Kelowna.
The work begins Tuesday night from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and is expected to wrap up in the next few weeks. Drivers are asked to slow down in the construction area.
The stretch has claimed numerous lives over the years when drivers cross the centre line into oncoming traffic.
The most recent crash took the life of Brian Dolman, 64, of Oyama on June 4. His SUV veered out of the southbound lanes near the Birnie Road turnoff and hit a pickup truck head-on.
Just a month earlier on May 4, Rodney Boring, 14, of Vernon was killed when the Pontiac Sunfire in which he was a passenger hit a pickup head on near Oyama.
A recent safety review of the highway noted the risk of crossover accidents in that area and recommended barriers be installed. The stretch of highway sees up to 20,000 vehicles a day.
Once the improvements are complete, the Ministry plans to raise the speed limit to 100 km/h from the current 90 km/h.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014