Residents fear highway crashes
There are growing concerns that Lake Country’s new Highway 97 is placing motorists at risk.
Complaints are surfacing about the exit/entrances from the upper-level highway at both ends of Pelmewash Parkway, the old highway.
“The merging is very dangerous,” said Jim Anvari, an Oyama resident, of the southern exit near the Tim Hortons.
Anvari says vehicles trying to get off Pelmewash Parkway and on to Highway 97 south cannot see the highway traffic until the merge lane is almost used up.
“I was concerned at first with the safety of my own family and then I found out my neighbours have the same concerns,” said Anvari, who has launched a petition urging the Ministry of Transportation to take action.
“The merging even becomes more dangerous when multiple cars and trucks try to do this merging. Imagine adding a school bus to the mix during morning commute.”
Owen Dickie, a Lake Country councillor, drives the route frequently, and says part of the part of the problem is vehicles on Pelmewash Parkway are doing 50 kilometres an hour while those on the highway are speeding.
“No one is doing the posted 70 kilometres an hour on the highway when the merge occurs,” he said, adding that an earth berm also obstructs visibility.
Dickie wants the speed limit sign moved back on the highway to notify motorists to slow down and he would like the berm carved down in size.
Problems also apparently exist at the north end of Pelmewash Parkway, where it exits/enters the new highway.
“There is no indication of a tight corner,” said Dickie.
“The speed limit should be 20 kilometres an hour but there are no signs that say that. Reasonable signage should be mandatory.”
The most significant risk apparently comes from large trucks trying to access or leave the industrial area in Oyama.
“There have been four accidents in that area recently and something has to be done,” said Coun. Jamie McEwan.
Dickie has discussed both ends of Pelmewash Parkway with the Ministry of Transportation, but the department has stated the route is sufficiently designed.
“They have forgotten or overlooked the exits and entrances on to Pelmewash,” he said.
The District of Lake Country will pursue the matter with the ministry.
“It may be properly engineered but it’s not signed properly at the speeds it was engineered for,” said Mayor James Baker.