Highway 97A in Armstrong is closed in both directions Monday afternoon, just after 4 p.m., due to a serious accident at Rosedale Avenue. Detours are in effect in both directions. (Bob Dunbar photo)

‘We shouldn’t have to wait for a fatal accident,’ Armstrong mayor says

Transportation Ministry staffer tells city statistics don’t justify adding merge lanes at three locations on Hwy. 97A

They’ve accepted the decision but it doesn’t mean they agree with it.

City of Armstrong staff recently met via Zoom with Erik Lachmuth from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to discuss reinstating merge lanes on Highway 97A at the intersections of Smith Drive, Rosedale Avenue and Harding Road.

Lachmuth reviewed accident history at a number of Armstrong locations and one in Spallumcheen and also refuted slope stability concerns.

In short, the ministry said, “there is no perception that changes are required to the entrances to/from Highway 97A in Armstrong.”

Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper believes the merge lanes should still be put in.

“We shouldn’t have to wait for a fatal accident,” he said. “The amount of traffic on that highway justifies it in my opinion, and it should be one of the top priorities for highways.”

Accident history was reviewed from 2015 to 2020.

“The accident records did not show any serious accidents and no fatalities at any of the Armstrong intersections,” wrote chief administrative officer Kevin Bertles in a report to council. “In short, the analysis did not show any traffic design concerns from a historical use perspective.”

Slope stability at the Rosedale Avenue access point was discussed and Lachmuth said the slope is reviewed on a regular basis by MOTI staff. They say there are no signs of slope instability.

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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Highway 97Municipal Government