Signs point to notorious curve
Aug 30, 2013 / 12:44 pm
A notorious stretch of Highway 33 is in line for some upgrades.
The provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced Friday morning it will spend $195,000 to upgrade signage at the eight-mile curve.
The hairpin corner between Kelowna and Joe Rich has been the scene of numerous accidents over the years - many of those involving semis.
The latest occurred earlier this summer when a large truck hauling a paving machine flipped onto its side coming out of the hairpin.
It was the second such accident this year and, according to Joe Rich Fire Chief, Curtis Nyuli, the 15th or 20th over the 19 years he has held the post.
Nyuli says Friday's announcement is a good start.
"Re-engineering that corner probably would be one of the cheapest, most successful methods of saving some of these accidents," says Nyuli.
"The last quarter of that corner has that whiplash effect that throws drivers off."
Nyuli says that last motion can move an insecure load and cause a vehicle to flip over.
While Nyuli believes the corner needs some work he says the province also needs to tighten up on unsecured loads.
"They should start increasing the fines for violations when they catch these guys."
Long term, when money is available, Nyuli says the ultimate fix would be a bridge over the gorge to eliminate the curve altogether.
The curve has also claimed several lives as has the next corner at the top of the hill going past Heartland Ranch.
Friday, the ministry announced it would spend the money to install sixteen new LED chevron signs, upgrade the overhead flashing advisory signs and improve the static curve warning signs.
According to a brief media release:
"By upgrading warnings on the approaches to the 8 Mile Curve, motorists will know in advance that a sharp curve is ahead and will have the time to check and correct their speed. These upgrades will help residents and visitors of Kelowna to better navigate this stretch of highway, preventing vehicle crashes and keeping families safe."
“This $195,000 investment in Highway 33 and the 8 Mile Curve is an investment in the safety of B.C. families and visitors. Improvements like these will make a big difference in many lives," states Kelowna-Lake Country MLA, Norm Letnick.
The project is expected to be complete by the end of September.
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