Safety measures sought for dangerous stretch of Highway 97
By Charlotte Helston
One person was killed in a head-on crash between a pickup and a car on Highway 97 north of the Kelowna Airport on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.
(HOWARD ALEXANDER / iNFOnews.ca)
September 16, 2014 - 4:28 PM
LAKE COUNTRY - In the aftermath of two fatal accidents, officials in Lake Country are calling for the addition of a concrete median between Beaver Lake Road and the Kelowna Airport.
In July, an elderly couple and a 14-year-old passenger believed to be their grandson were fatally injured after crossing the centre line and colliding with an oncoming truck near Duck Lake. A couple weeks later, the driver of a truck veered across the centre line, striking a car carrying a man and a woman. The woman died at the scene.
According to Lake Country fire chief Steve Windsor, it’s always been a bad spot, but this summer was particularly rough.
“This year we’ve had quite a high number. We don’t normally see that kind of frequency. The majority of accidents have all been head-on collisions,” Windsor says.
While a concrete median is currently being installed north of Lake Country to prevent head-on crashes, Highway 97 south of town is not getting much attention from the Ministry of Transportation.
Lake Country Mayor James Baker says council is writing a letter to the Ministry asking it to get the ball rolling on a concrete median south of the municipality as well.
“We thought we should remind the Ministry that accidents are happening in an inordinate number on that stretch as well,” Baker says.
According to ICBC, there were 102 crashes at the intersection of Highway 97, Beaver Lake Road and Glenmore Road between 2009 and 2013. There were 20 crashes at Highway 97 and Commonwealth Road between the same time period.
Baker believes concrete barriers would make the busy highway safer for all travelers.
“The Ministry managed to find a budget to put the medians in north of us in areas it’s very necessary because the accident rate is bad there as well,” Baker says. “This stretch south of us will also need some remediation of the issue as well.”
Council representatives will approach Transportation Minister Todd Stone about the problem at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention later this month.
The installation of concrete medians on 11 kilometres between Lake Country and Vernon is expected to finish by the end of the month.
The new section of Highway between Winfield and Oyama is already equipped with a median.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014