Fatal crash on Highway 97 in Okanagan prompts renewed call for barriers - InfoNews

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Fatal crash on Highway 97 in Okanagan prompts renewed call for barriers

A call has been made for barriers between lanes of traffic on Highway 97.
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May 05, 2020 - 8:58 AM

A fatal crash on Drought Hill has prompted a renewed call for safety barriers between a narrow portion of Highway 97, running from Peachland to Summerland.

“There was a petition started last fall in regards to the section from the south end of Peachland to Summerland but that does not cover the remaining length from north of Peachland at the Okanagan Connector on and off-ramp to South of Peachland where (Highway 97) four lanes and divides with barriers,” Chad Garrecht wrote in a petition.

That section of highway is 20 kilometres long and there are multiple fatalities each year.

On May 1 an oncoming vehicle allegedly crossed the centre line and killed the driver in a lane of oncoming traffic. It’s the second fatal crash in that area in six months.

“This is ridiculous and the province has had many inquiries with no changes made,” he said.

While much of Highway 97 is divided by concrete barriers, Garrecht said that this portion of Central Okanagan road is narrow, the speed limit is 90 km/h the lack of barrier seems particularly dangerous.

He said the recent death is the second in six months and the issue could be solved by a simple divider installed to stop vehicles from crossing the line and killing innocent people.

“We all know people who use this highway daily and it is terrible to think this could happen to one of our own loved ones,” he said.

This is the second petition for the dividers. The last was from Nick Harper posted a Change.org petition and called for the installation of barriers on a section of Highway 97 between Summerland and Peachland,” Harper said, on the petition.

“In parts, the road is steep, has sharp corners, and the slope of the road in the corners is low on the outside, making it dangerous especially in winter conditions.”

The concern,  he wrote, is drivers who go too fast or don't adjust their speed for road conditions often drift into oncoming traffic causing serious harm or death.

“It's time for the Province of BC, Premier Horgan, and the Honourable Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to install concrete barriers in between the two directions of traffic. This will hopefully prevent further accidents causing injury or death.”

That petition gained 16,153 signatures. Garrecht's is at 420 so far.

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