Notorious intersection to be upgraded

A dangerous intersection will be improved, although some questions remain unanswered

A dangerous intersection will be improved, although some questions remain unanswered.

A design process has started for Highway 97 and Birnie Road to make it safer for those travelling to the Greater Vernon landfill.

“Redesigning the intersection will improve both access and safety at this increasingly busy location,” said Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA.

However, it hasn’t been determined how the intersection may be made safer.

“We’re really in the consultation period,” said Foster.

“There will be discussions with the City of Vernon and the Regional District of North Okanagan on options and developing cost options.”

Among the possibilities are an overpass or a right-in, right-out model.

It’s also not known when the work will begin.

“This is not a long-term plan. We should see shovels in the ground in the next couple of years,” said Foster.

Bob Fleming, RDNO director, welcomes the announcement by the government.

“It’s a positive move that they’re doing something and hopefully they are open to suggestions about what should be done,” he said, adding that he hopes the government will consult with commercial truckers.

The Ministry of Transportation will also proceed with upgrades to the Kalamalka Lake lookout, including washrooms, picnic tables and other amenities.

“It should happen pretty quick,” said Foster, adding that a higher level of maintenance will occur now that the area’s classification has shifted from pullout to rest area.

Coldstream had been pushing for action at the lookout.

“It’s great news and Eric has been very supportive,” said Mayor Jim Garlick.

“It’s such a jewel and it had been sadly neglected for such a long time,” added Coun. Doug Dirk.