July 20, 2015 - 8:00 PM
CLEARWATER - Following multiple crashes along a portion of the Yellowhead Highway, including two that resulted in people having to be airlifted to Royal Inland Hospital last week, locals are asking for more safety measures to be implemented along the highway.
Three days ago, Hettie Buck created an online petition to call on the Ministry of Transportation, the Thompson Nicola Regional District and the provincial government to review and consider highway improvements for Highway 5 between Kamloops and Valemount.
"Specifically multiple traffic accidents have occurred along the Yellowhead Highway #5 from Little Fort to Blue River,” she says on the petition page. "Within days the straight stretch of highway near Lacarya Golf Course highway intersection and a few miles past that still on the straight stretch at Jenkins Road crossing there have been two very serious accidents requiring an air ambulance."
Buck lost her own family members to the stretch. Teachers Courtney and Skye Buck’s vehicle left the highway in December 2012 and landed in the North Thompson River. The couple died along with their baby due the following month.
"If there had been post guard rails at this crash point they would be probably be alive today. There are no post guard rails there now. There have been many many accidents along this stretch of highway on the Yellowhead over the years,” Buck says.
Along with a lack of guard railings, Buck notes several dangerous elements in that stretch of highway, including limited visibility, limited passing lanes, speeding and lack of police staffing due to rural service. The petitioner notes Clearwater has a hospital to deal with accidents, but staff are unable to perform surgeries on site. The nearest hospital to do so is Kamloops, which is over an hour away by ground.
A spokesperson from the Ministry of Transportation did not immediately return a request for comment. The petition already has 400 signatures.
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