May 01, 2015 - 10:34 AM
VERNON - The Ministry of Transportation has proposed a controversial plan to make the intersection of Stickle Road and Highway 97 in Vernon less dangerous.
The $3-million initiative would eliminate risky, left hand turns onto the highway and allow only right hand turns onto Stickle and 97, forcing drivers to take Pleasant Valley Road back into Vernon, project director Rampaul Dulay said at an open house in Vernon Thursday, April 30.
But he pointed out it’s not set in stone — yet. Dulay said the Ministry will be collecting feedback from the public and taking it into consideration before finalizing the project, which could be done as soon as next spring.
According to crash data, there were three fatal accidents at the intersection between 2003 to 2012, 18 personal injuries, and 29 causing property damage.
Dulay admitted local citizens and politicians have said they’d prefer to see a traffic light there, but said the intersection does not warrant it. He said a traffic light would inhibit traffic flow, increase the risk of rear-enders, and create more greenhouse gas emissions.
The Ministry’s plan doesn’t sit well with Vernon city councillor Scott Anderson, who issued a media release Thursday calling the proposal ‘inane’ and ‘galling.’
"Vehicles coming from the campground heading north will have to drive into Vernon, do a U-turn, and come back out, while cars travelling back to Vernon from the Auto Mile will be forced onto Pleasant Valley Road and subsequently onto 43 Avenue, itself already very busy. According to the Ministry's own calculations, this will effectively double the traffic on PV road and download the cost of more road maintenance on the shoulders of Vernon taxpayers,” Anderson said.
He also called the Ministry out for not collecting public input prior to announcing the plan, and for holding consultation with local government in meetings closed to the public.
“Although the Ministry did ask local government bodies for their opinions, it then completely ignored them and did the opposite. What’s the point of asking for local input if it’s not listened to?” Anderson said.
The plan also involves new acceleration and deceleration lanes, and left turn bays on the highway.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015