Fatal accident raises more safety concerns for highway between Lake Country and Kelowna

Highways ministry in planning stages for installing safety meridians on deadly stretch of road between Kelowna and Lake Country

The District of Lake Country is renewing its call for safety meridians on the stretch of highway 97 between Lake Country and Kelowna after another fatal motor vehicle accident near Duck Lake on the weekend.

A 48-year-old woman died on Saturday after reports stated the SUV she was driving crossed the centre line and collided with a semi tractor trailer unit. The accident closed the highway for up top three hours as RCMP investigated.

The accident is the latest in a long and deadly history on the road between Lake Country and Kelowna, a four-lane stretch of heavily-driven highway.

And the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says they are in the planning process to move forward with safety improvements to the highway between Kelowna and Lake Country.

“We monitor our highways for safety and this is clearly an area that needs some attention,” said Murray Tekano, district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Highways. “We’re in the process of planning these improvements, identifying what can be done and how it can be done.”

According to witnesses, a southbound Volkswagen Tiguan crossed two lanes of traffic and impacted a northbound commercial vehicle that had been travelling in the outside lane.The force of the collision disintegrated the front end of the Volkswagen and caused extensive damages to the commercial truck. The female driver of the Volkswagen suffered extensive traumatic injuries and died in the crash. The two occupants of the commercial truck both suffered relatively minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

Police say road conditions were not a factor in the accident.

In September, Lake Country fire chief Steve Windsor reported that there was a substantial increase in traffic accidents between Lake Country and Kelowna this year and had sent a request to the Ministry of Transportation  asking about the possibility of safety meridians. At the UBCM meeting later that month in Whistler Lake Country officials reiterated the request for the safety barriers to be installed.

“We’ve been at them for sometime that they should have those barriers installed,” said Lake Country mayor James Baker. “It seems they are listening and we should start to see them at least design where they could put them. They have to look at how many accesses they will have to permit because in some places there are properties that need access to both directions.”

Tekano says public consultation will have to take place with residences and businesses that operate on the stretch of highway, with access the biggest issue. He estimates it would be late spring before consultation could take place.

Lake Country fire officials responded to the accident just before 2 p.m. Saturday and were on scene until about 5 p.m. when the highway was opened.

Windsor said the highway is known for the speed at which vehicles travel making accidents hard to avoid.

“It’s just a high speed highway and for whatever reason if you have inattention, you have very little time to correct it,” said Windsor. “At those kinds of speeds, it’s just a millisecond and if you drift at all you can be in the other lane very, very quickly.”

Windsor a substantial amount of diesel fuel was spilled in the accident but crews built a berm using sand to keep the fuel from running into Duck Lake.

Just Posted

Free theatre performance for Lake Country families

Robinson Crusoe + Friday will be performed at Creekside Theatre April 14

Protect the Water rally today in Kelowna

The rally will be held at No. 102 – 1420 St Paul Street, Kelowna.

Wild weather leads to power outages

Thousands woke up in the dark this morning, as Fortis crews scrambled to get power up and running.

UPDATED: Heavy rain causes flooding in the Central Okanagan

Portion of lower Glenrosa Road closed due to flooding

CNIB promises to respond to criticism

Blind community advocates call for inclusion initiatives

Jury finds Chad Alphonse guilty of manslaughter in murder trial

Kelowna jury delivers its verdict a day after starting its deliberations.

Photos: Salmon Arm celebrates Paralympic champion Natalie Wilkie

Hometown hero welcomed home with parade, recognition ceremony at city hall

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

BREAKING: B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

Armstrong declares State of Emergency

Residents whose homes are impacted by the flooding should call City Hall 250-546-3023

Flooding leads to Pioneer Square evacuation in Armstrong

Armstrong assisted living facility has water in basement; nine suites evacuated

PHOTOS: Students exhibit stunning paper couture dresses

22 paper made gowns will be on display at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre until March 27

BCHL Today: Prince George avoids elimination with game five win

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Suspect arrested and charged for assault on autistic man

Parmvir Chahil has strong B.C. ties; two others charged with accessory after the fact

Most Read