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Killer highway gets median

A now infamous stretch of Hwy. 97 between Oyama and Vernon is getting much needed attention from the BC Government.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone announced Wednesday the province will install concrete median barriers on approximately 11 kilometres of the highway between Lake Country and Vernon to improve safety for motorists.

Stone says the decision to install median barriers was made following a recent engineering safety review of the highway which was driven by the risk of crossover accidents in that section combined with high traffic volumes.

“Safety on our highways is our number one priority, and the risk of collisions involving vehicles crossing the centreline on this section of Highway 97 is a significant concern. The addition of 11 kilometres of median barrier will help prevent those serious crossover collisions and improve safety on this section of Highway 97 for all motorists,” says Stone.

Last month Castanet told you about the nine individuals who lost their lives on that stretch of highway since 2009 and a call out for solutions.

A majority of highway users were begging for a median to be put in as a crucial necessity.

“This safety upgrade to Highway 97 will improve the drive between Vernon and Lake Country, and make our region’s main highway safer for families, for visitors and for commercial users,” adds MLA for Vernon-Monashee Eric Foster.

Concrete median barriers will be extended from the end of Pelmawash Parkway near Oyama to Kalamalka Lakeview Drive near Vernon with work beginning this fall, at a cost of $5M.

On top of this and as a result of this engineering assessment the government also determined that they can increase the speed limit on this section of Highway 97 (like the increase implemented on Hwy. 97C) from 90 km/h to 100 km/h with the addition of median barrier. This change to the speed limit will be made following the completion of the median barrier project.

Median barrier installation work will be done in off-peak travel hours, usually evening and overnight, and will require single lane closures for safety.

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