2020 Ministry of Transportation study recommends safety improvements at deadly Highway 97 intersection near airport

Plans for deadly corner

The intersection where an 18-year-old motorcyclist died last month was the subject of a 2020 study by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

MOTI worked in partnership with the City of Kelowna, UBC Okanagan and Kelowna International Airport to complete the joint study of the Highway 97 corridor in the area, including the intersection at Old Vernon Road.

In a statement to Castanet, the ministry says the Okanagan Gateway Transportation Study identified improvements for the intersection, including restricting left turns onto the highway in conjunction with the construction of new local frontage roads.

The report also calls for the eventual construction of an interchange at Airport Way, which is currently controlled by traffic lights. The statement says the ministry is engaging with the city and the airport to determine timing and next steps for advancing future improvements along the corridor.

Old Vernon Road is the only other major access point in and out of the airport.

18-year-old Tavin Hansom died when his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck at the intersection just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 23. There was another crash at the same spot just five days later, and Hansom’s father drove past the scene.

“How many more crosses are we going to put there before we fix this?” asked Jim Hansom.

"It's the exact same spot, the median that my boy laid on for hours with a sheet over—there's a car with the front end demolished on it now."

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says that following the accident that claimed Tavin’s life, it will be reviewing the area to determine whether other shorter-term safety measures or signage would be appropriate.

The full Okanagan Gateway Transportation Study can be found here.

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