Residents and politicians want changes at Stickle Road and Highway 97

Residents and politicians want changes at Stickle Road and Highway 97

Ministry comes under fire

The Ministry of Transportation is being accused of dragging its feet over a dangerous intersection

The Ministry of Transportation is being accused of dragging its feet over a dangerous intersection.

The Electoral Area Advisory Committee was told Thursday that instead of action moving ahead, another study is being launched by the ministry for Stickle Road at Highway 97, along the Swan Lake corridor.

“I was shown four options being considered and I thought they would do something,” said Bob Fleming, BX-Swan Lake director.

“Now it doesn’t look like they may move forward. It appears like someone in that office has gone backwards.”

The biggest challenge for motorists is left-turns from Stickle Road on to the highway.

There have been about four or five fatalities there since 2001. According to ICBC statistics, between 2007 and 2012, there had been 89 crashes at that intersection.

“I hope no one dies while they restudy the intersection,” said Fleming, who is frustrated that the ministry has not initiated a plan despite significant concerns being raised by the community for many years.

Resident George Zimmerman collected 1,363 names on a petition in 2006 asking for improvements at the intersection.

Among the proposed upgrades the ministry has apparently considered is a T-section with expanded merge lanes.

“They are not very sympathetic to a traffic light there,” said Fleming.

In 2012, the Regional District of North Okanagan board demanded the ministry install a traffic control light at Stickle Road as a way of improving traffic safety.

The Ministry of Transportation says it recognizes the safety concerns at the intersection.

“The ministry is already working on a safety and operational assessment of the Highway 97/Stickle Road intersection,” it states.

“As part of this work, short and long-term improvement options are being investigated to address safety concerns. When the study has been completed this spring, the ministry will discuss the findings with the regional district and the City of Vernon.”