Sicamous man’s campaign for Highway 97A intersection upgrade rewarded

Anniversary of fatal June 2021 motorcycle crash brings positive news

Jan Seelinger died in a motorcycle crash on Highway 97A/Springbend Road in June 2021. (Contributed)

Jan Seelinger died in a motorcycle crash on Highway 97A/Springbend Road in June 2021. (Contributed)

A followup call on the anniversary of his sister’s death to a motorcycle crash Highway 97A offered some unexpected but welcome solace for a Sicamous man.

Steve Seelinger has spent the last year advocating for road safety changes to an intersection of Springbend Road and Highway 97A between Grindrod and Enderby.

Despite his public efforts to draw attention to the dangers of the blind merge intersection, he had heard nothing in response from the transportation ministry.

So when he called regional highway operations manager Danny Morris for an update Wednesday, the anniversary of his sister Jan Seelinger’s fatal motorcycle crash at that intersection, he was taken aback.

Morris told him changes to the intersection had been approved by the ministry and those changes were now in the works towards being completed likely by this fall.

“Hearing those words turned an emotionally terrible day to me into a glimmer of happiness,” recounted Seelinger.

“Before talking with Danny I had no indication of anything happening. Throughout this whole thing, for me it was always about getting something done moving forward so what happened to my sister would not happen to anyone else.”

Thomas told the Morning Star land surveying work is underway, with the intention of adding both electrical signage overhead and “bigger and bolder” roadside signs to warn motorists.

“In the past year, there have been other accidents at that intersection but fortunately none of them have had fatalities…it is a bad spot,” Seelinger said, noting there are also other road safety improvements that could be made on the Highway 97A stretch between Sicamous and Vernon.

Thomas said the intersection improvements will ultimately cost between $400,000 and $500,000.

Seelinger’s sister died in the crash on June 22, 2021, when the Salmon Arm woman collided with a commercial farm vehicle.

He admits the crash was his sister’s fault, but he has been driven by the need to address the contributing factors that led to her death which could be improved.

“You like to wish that things maybe could happen faster, but I am glad the funding to make the changes is in place and something is going to happen,” he said.

Seelinger added he is grateful for all those who supported him in his journey the past year and added their voices to his campaign to bring about changes to the intersection.

READ MORE: Fatal motorcycle crash revs Sicamous man to drive for Enderby intersection safety changes

fatal collisionmotorcycleNorth Okanagan Regional District