Central Okanagan News
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOT) is looking at safety improvements in and around the new section of Highway 97 through Lake Country.
Earlier this month Lake Country Council received a petition from local residents concerned with safety issues on the Pelmewash/Highway 97 intersections.
Staff from both the district and MOT met March 17 to discuss issues raised in the petition.
District engineering director, Michael Mercer, stated in a summary of the meeting the ministry was aware of the issues and presented solutions that they were already working to implement.
South end where Pelmewash merges onto Highway 97
- To improve sight distance as vehicles merge onto Hwy 97 from Pelmewash, the Ministry is going to remove an existing dirt knob and IF they are able they were going to remove some of the existing concrete no post barriers.
- To improve driver awareness for vehicles on Hwy 97 and on Pelmewash of the upcoming merge, they are going to install the following signage:
1 – “MERGE AHEAD” sign on Pelmewash Pkwy. 100m prior to the beginning of the merge. This will increase the driver awareness of those who are merging.
2 – Another sign will be added on Highway 97 roughly 300m before the merge. This will warn the Highway 97 southbound motorists of the merge and give them ample time to move over to the left lane, thus creating an easier merge for the motorists on Pelmewash Pkwy.
In addition, the Ministry has already moved the “70 KM/H ahead” sign 100m north to allow southbound traffic more time to decelerate prior to the merge area.
While not part of the petition, Mercer says concerns were also raised by residents about the north end where the new highway meets Pelmewash Pkwy.
- To improve driver awareness as vehicles decelerate from Hwy. 97 and are preparing to access Pelmewash, the Ministry will install an “EXIT - 30km/hr” sign on the northbound deceleration lane.
- To improve driver awareness as vehicles prepare to access the Hwy. travelling from Pelmewash going north (going to Vernon). Add reflectors and POSSIBLY a speed warning sign will be put up, letting motorists know of the upcoming curve. We note POSSIBLY because this added concern was new to them and they wanted to confirm with their traffic engineer an effective treatment for the issue. We requested more signage over and above the reflectors.
- To improve driver awareness as vehicles exit off the highway and as vehicles approach the entrance to the highway, the Ministry will be installing six highly reflective chevrons (3 in each direction) to warn motorists of the upcoming corner.
Mercer adds the ministry is targeting the end of April for sign installation and hopes to undertake the dirt knob removal in the spring when soils are drier.
He says the ministry will also monitor the changes for their effectiveness.
Tell us what you think of the new highway, send us a letter to [email protected] - letters must be no more than 250 words and your name must be attached. We will publish them in our letters section.
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