Support grows for petition advocating concrete barrier on Highway 97 north of Summerland | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Support grows for petition advocating concrete barrier on Highway 97 north of Summerland

The provincial highways ministry is looking at the feasibility of lane barriers along this stretch of Highway 97 following a fatal collision last week that also prompted a petition for barriers on the road.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / BC Highways Cam
January 21, 2020 - 4:00 PM

The petition launched after last week’s fatal crash along a four-lane stretch of Highway 97 north of Summerland continues to garner signatures.

More than 17,000 signatures have been collected since the petition was launched on after the death of a South Okanagan woman in a crash that shut down the highway for several hours on Thursday, Jan. 16.

Mick Harper, who started the petition, says the part of the highway in question has sharp corners, is steep in places and has a road slope on corners that is low on the outside, making it dangerous, especially in winter conditions.

Harper is calling on the Ministry of Transportation to install a concrete barrier north of Summerland and south of Peachland in order to save lives. He’s hoping to collect 25,000 signatures.

The province says its engineering team is taking a look at the stretch of highway to see if more investigation into a barrier is needed.

"The safety of the travelling public is our top priority, and our thoughts are with the friends and families of those involved in the incident on Highway 97 near Summerland on Jan. 16. The cause of the crash is under investigation by the RCMP,” Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Danielle Pope said in an emailed statement today, Jan. 21.

"The ministry takes any incident on our highway seriously, particularly those that result in injuries or fatalities. It is our standard practice to review all serious incidents that occur on our highway corridors,” she said.

Pope said the ministry looks at many factors when considering the feasibility of a median barrier, including such things as road geometry and design, weather conditions, road conditions, signage, site visibility, number of lanes, traffic speeds and volumes, pavement conditions and more.

"We have asked our engineering team to undertake an analysis to see if further investigation into median barrier is warranted. Once the investigation and engineering analysis are complete, the ministry will look at safety improvements, if the location in question meets the necessary requirements,” she said.

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