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Saving lives in West Kelowna

The District of West Kelowna can scratch left turn signals off its wish list.

The Ministry of Transportation has been working for the better part of a week to install left turn signals at two key intersections along Highway 97.

According to Mayor Doug Findlater, there are more to come.

The current work is being done at Bartley Road and Gellatly Road intersections.

Findlater says both should be ready to go soon.

The mayor agrees these left turn signals, which will be active for traffic getting off and onto the highway, will save lives.

"We've seen that with the light at Westlake/Hudson. It's a much safer intersection," says Findlater.

"I won't say completely safe but it's much safer than before and quite frankly that has become such a favoured intersection for left turns."

Findlater believes once left turn lights are installed at intersections further down the highway, the congestion at Hudson will likely be alleviated.

Some of that congestion will also be lessened once construction on Boucherie Road near Highway 97 is complete in mid November.

Findlater says more left turn lights are on the books for next year as well.

He says Daimler is scheduled for next year while Ross Road is expected to be done in 2013 or 2014.

"Ross Road will become critical to have advanced left turns with the new transit exchange being constructed next to the Super 8 Motel," says Findlater.

"The buses are going to have to make that left turn to get to that (transit exchange). In fact, the reason it is being delayed is because there may be an opportunity to ask BC Transit to contribute to the cost of that."

West Kelowna and the province are sharing the cost of the left turn lights at Bartley Road 50/50 while the cost of the lights at Gellatly are being split three ways with the municipality and Westbank First Nation each kicking in 25 per cent of that cost.

Findlater says further improvements are also in the works at the dangerous intersection with Highway 97 and Grizzly Road.

"The ministry contacted me and there is money for improvements at Grizzly. They are going to change the turn movement," says Findlater.

"There is no light thank goodness but, I think they are looking at making sure there is no straight through (traffic) at that intersecftion."



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