A B.C. man who launched an online petition to lobby the provincial government to install median barriers on a stretch of highway in the Okanagan has seen concrete action on his citizen’s initiative.
The Ministry of Transportation has awarded a $671,000 contract to Kon Kast Products Ltd. of Kelowna to install concrete median barriers on a section of Highway 97 north of Summerland.
The barriers will be installed along a 4.2-kilometre stretch of highway between Bentley Road and Callan Road.
“The barriers will ensure an added layer of protection for travellers by preventing head-on collisions and other crossover incidents, especially at night and during bad weather conditions,” the ministry said in a statement.
Mick Harper, 52, launched an online petition last January in the wake of a fatal collision on the stretch of highway. Conditions can be perilous in the winter.
Family of Okanagan crash victim says safety improvements are taking too long
According to police, the incident involved a semi and a sedan. A passenger in the sedan was killed, while the driver sustained serious injuries. The semi driver was also injured.
“The barriers are going to add that extra measure of protection for people who don’t slow down or don’t drive to conditions when the roads are bad,” Harper said on Monday.
Almost 30,000 people signed the petition, and it was presented in the B.C. legislature last February.
“I’m quite happy, I’m really pleased with the way this initiative was supported by local and provincial government authorities,” Harper said.
“A lot of people got behind it and took it all the way to the B.C. legislature. MLA Dan Ashton presented the results of that petition almost one year ago.”
New medians on Okanagan highways aimed at reducing crashes
Harper, who lives in Prince George but grew up in Summerland, also encourages drivers to slow down and drive to conditions.
“People need to use their road sense. They need to slow down when the roads are bad and take care.,” he said.
Work is expected to start this spring when weather permits and be completed by late May, the ministry said.
New barriers have already been installed along sections of the highway between Penticton and Summerland.
The ministry added that median barriers are also being installed on a 5.9-kilometre section of Highway 97A between Armstrong and Vernon.
Drivers can expect minor delays during the project, as the installation work will occur outside the peak traffic hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Updates on delays will be available online at DriveBC.ca
Fatal crashes prompt petition for median on Highway 97A
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