Highway 97A safety a concern

Resident speaks out against access to the highway from McLeod Road in Spallumcheen.

The way Rhonda Burr sees it, with more traffic on Highway 97A now, than ever before, every day somebody takes a chance trying to access the highway from McLeod Road in Spallumcheen.

Like Burr, Councillor Joe Van Tienhoven is a resident of the McLeod subdivision, and he thinks about how dangerous the access to the highway from the subdivision is every time he leaves his home.

It’s not her first time making such a request, but Burr has asked township council to again lobby the ministry of transportation for a change to the McLeod Road intersection.

“With the removal of the light at Smith Drive and Highway 97A, coupled with the reduction from two lanes to one northbound, the increased traffic volume has made it difficult to access the highway from McLeod Road,” said Burr.

“Complicating things further is the increased traffic volume southbound from Enderby.”

There are 200 homes in the subdivision along with two industrial farms and commercial property, meaning farm equipment, big trucks and family vehicles are all trying to safely access the highway at McLeod Road.

A new safe left turn lane and access was recently completed in the township at Eagle Rock Road which services, Burr pointed out, less than 50 homes, three or four commercial operations and the township’s municipal yard.

Burr offered up some solutions.

“We need an acceleration lane going south to at least have access to one lane of traffic so it can merge into southbound traffic all prior to the Fortune Creek Bridge,” said Burr.

“There needs to be a left-hand turn lane for southbound traffic that will access McLeod Road.”

Right now, there is no left-turn lane into the subdivision for southbound traffic.

There is a flashing light indicator for the intersection.

Things like alternate routes have been discussed by township councils with ministry officials.

“We want a solution,” said Van Tienhoven. “The alternate access process we thought would be received with open arms but there have been road blocks there.

“We’re working on this from all fronts. It’s something I think about every day when I come out of there.”

Township administrator Greg Betts told Burr that the ministry has indicated they would like to know what the major highway problems are for the township, and McLeod Road is at or near the top of the list.

“We threw some ideas out to them, including a possible alternate route from Harding and Powerhouse Roads in conjunction with the development that’s ongoing there,” said Betts. “They have agreed to a planning project with the township that looks at the long- short- and immediate terms.”

Betts said the planning project would be conducted over the next year.


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