Local politicians Steve Thomson (left) and Norm Letnick announce new safety measures along Highway 97 between Kelowna and Lake Country.

New safety measures coming on Highway 97 between Kelowna and Lake Country

Province of B.C. makes announcement on highway medians from UBCO to Commonwealth Road in Lake Country

The province is spending $2.5 million to improve safety on a stretch of Highway 97 between the turnoff for the UBC Okanagan campus and Commonwealth Road in Lake Country.

The nine-kilometre stretch will have a concrete median installed in two phases, with the first, 7.5-kilometres between UBCO and just north of Duck Lake, slated for completion by early September. The second phase, a 1.5-kilometre stretch, has several business accesses along it and will be the subject of public consultation. It is expected to be complete by early 2016.

The work, announced by local MLAs Norm Letnick (Kelowna-Lake Country) and Steve Thomson (Kelowna-Mission) Friday came just hours after a serious crash the highway just north of Kelowna where a car and a truck collided after the car’s driver attempted to do a U-turn on the road. If the medians had been in place, such a move would not have been possible.

Three people were sent to hospital with serious injuries as a result of the crash and part of Highway 97 was closed for several hours.

Letnick said the plan to install the concrete medians is part of the government’s new 10-year B.C. On The Move transportation plan. The plan will see $2.5 billion spent on transportation infrastructure around the province, with $750 million of that earmarked for road safety programs over the next three years.

According to the transportation ministry, the decision to install median barriers on the stretch of Highway 97 north of Kelowna and south of Lake Country was made last year following an engineering safety review of the highway. The recommendation, it said, was driven by the risk of “crossover” accidents combined with high traffic volumes. Crossover accidents are where traffic moves into the oncoming lane, most often to pass another vehicle.

As many as 30,000 vehicles a day travel along the stretch of road to get the concrete medians and Letnick said there are an average of 20 accidents per year on that same stretch.

Both Lake Country Mayor James Baker and Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Lewis, who were on hand for the announcement, welcomed the safety improvement, saying the growing number of accidents on the road was a concern for both of them.

“We are very pleased the ministry has identified this section of Highway 97 for safety improvements in the form of median barriers to reduce serious, and sometimes fatal, motor vehicle accidents that claim innocent lives,” said Baker.

The work will be done during off-peak hours, likely at night, and will require single lane closures for safety during the installation.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Teen snowmobiler missing near Kelowna

Police were informed that the teen had gone missing just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Kelowna Rockets blow 4-goal lead in overtime loss to Calgary

Captain Nolan Foote made a brief return as Kelowna drops Family Day matinee 6-5

Lake Country singer advances to Top 25 in Okanagan’s Got Talent

Payton Bischoff will be performing on Feb. 23 in Vernon

Soccer legend Bob Lenarduzzi to speak about dementia in Kelowna

Lenarduzzi will speak at the inaugural Breakfast to Remember on Mar. 10

Kelowna RCMP arrest alleged impaired driver

The driver is facing potential charges after power pole collision

Kelowna’s Family YMCA opens doors on Family Day

The entire day was free for the community

Morning Start: Canadian Rocky Mountain healing waters

Your morning start for Tuesday, February 18, 2020

No dramatic shifts expected as B.C. government tables new budget today

Finance Minister Carole James has promised to stay the course when she tables the budget in the legislature

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

Federal, B.C. ministers seek meeting with Wet’suwet’en in hope of blockade solution

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

South Okanagan woman reflects on prestigious win at Westminster dog show

“Polly” the Scottish deerhound was crowned best in breed and reserve best hound.

Most Read