Two fatal crashes have occurred on this section of Highway 97 between Summerland and Peachland in recent months. Two petitions have been created to install a barrier on the highway. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has recently determined that this section does not warrant a barrier but other sections of Highway 97 do. (Mike Harper / Change.org)

No barrier for fatal stretch of Highway 97: Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

Minsitry determines some parts of highway warrant barrier, but not section of recent fatal crash

Following the second fatal collision on Highway 97 of the year, a second petition has been started to install a barrier on the deadly stretch of road. As of May 6 it has garnered more than 2,000 signatures.

“We all know people who use this highway daily and it is terrible to think this could happen to one of our own loved ones,” reads the petition started by Chad Garrecht.

A separate petition for a highway barrier started in January has received over 27,000 signatures.

However, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) has determined the segment of road where the most recent fatal collision occurred does not warrant a barrier.

Simon-Pierre Houde was killed May 1 after a car from the oncoming lane crossed the centre lane into his on Peachland’s Drought Hill, according to RCMP.

READ MORE: Summerland worker identified as victim in fatal highway accident

READ MORE: Petition to install safety barriers on Hwy 97 garners over 500 supporters

After completing engineering analysis of Highway 97 from Peachland to Summerland, the ministry said some sections of the highway are being considered for a barrier, but not the section where the recent fatal collision occurred.

“The ministry takes any incident on our highway seriously, particularly those that result in injuries or fatalities. It is our standard practice to review all serious incidents that occur on our highway corridors,” reads a statement from the ministry.

“The ministry has completed its engineering analysis of Highway 97 from Peachland to Summerland and has determined that segments of the highway are warranted for median barrier installation

“The section of the highway on Drought Hill, where last Friday’s crash occurred, is not part of the planned median barrier corridor. This segment of highway has centre line and rumble strips, delineators, and caution signs.

“In considering the feasibility for median barrier, our ministry looks at many factors such as road geometry and design, road surface condition, site visibility, number of lanes, proximity to intersections, lighting, traffic speeds, traffic volumes and safety performance.”

“The safety of the travelling public is our top priority, and our thoughts are with the friends and families of those involved in the incident on Highway 97 in Peachland on May 1.”

The ministry expects to have a design completed for the highway this summer. They are planning to have people provide feedback on the design for the highway’s improvement in coming months.

READ MORE: Penticton MLA urges government to address fatal stretch of Hwy 97

READ MORE: RCMP seek witnesses of fatal highway crash in Peachland

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

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