The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure made changes improving safety of the Balmoral Road/Trans-Canada Highway Intersection, but some local residents think improvements to nearby underpasses are also required. (MOTI Image)

South Shuswap residents criticize upgrades to Balmoral Road/Highway 1 intersection

Reliance on frontage roads and narrow underpasses near Blind Bay not good enough

Some South Shuswap residents think the upgrades to the intersection of Balmoral Road and the Trans-Canada Highway did not go far enough to provide good access to the community while fulfilling the goal of reducing collisions at the intersection.

Dena Short, a Blind Bay resident, said she is one of a small group of locals who have been meeting to discuss the changes made to the intersection. Short said the new traffic pattern which eliminated the ability for people to turn left into traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway fulfills the goal of reducing the number of accidents at the intersection. She thinks better access could be provided to the Blind Bay area.

Short said the local population and the amount of traffic going through the area have both increased dramatically in recent years.

Read More: Plan chosen for safety upgrades at Balmoral intersection

Read More: Letter: Balmoral Road/Highway 1 intersection “improvements” don’t impress

She also believes the current traffic pattern, which relies on underpasses beneath the highway east of the main intersection to access the opposite side of the highway, could be confusing to visitors. She also doesn’t think it is ideal for residents who must now share the single-lane underpasses with farm equipment and transport trucks.

Over the winter, Short said she had a close call when a semi truck began sliding on some ice just as she was driving out of one of the underpasses.

“If I had been in the underpass, he couldn’t have stopped,” Short said.

“My heart was in my throat. I thought to myself, I’m not going that way anymore.”

Short said an underpass at the intersection or the widening of one of the existing underpasses would be an improvement to the situation. She and five or six other residents have taken action, including meeting with Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo in hopes of having improvements made at the intersection. Among those who discussed further improvements to the intersection was Terry Barker.

Both Barker and Short said either a new underpass at the Balmoral intersection or a widened underpass accessing the frontage road would have been an improvement.

Read More: 20th anniversary of Shuswap’s Salty Dog Enduro postponed to 2021

Read More: Would-be visitors to Shuswap over the long weekend asked to stay home

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, a new underpass at the Balmoral Intersection would likely cost between $30 and $50 million.

Barker approached a contractor who does major highway work. They put together a proposal suggesting that improvements to the underpass just east of the Balmoral intersection could be completed for approximately $3,023,000.

Barker said he thinks the intersection in its current state is a poor introduction to the area for tourists and less than ideal. He did acknowledge that the improvements that have already been made will cut down on the number of vehicle crash deaths at the intersection.

According to the ministry, it will be monitoring the new route using the underpasses and frontage roads in order to ensure it is still functioning safely. Staff are setting up traffic counting devices on the frontage road and have been patrolling the route to determine that the underpasses and maintenance in the area is adequate.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

trans-canada highway

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon couple support Kidney Walk despite setbacks

Jacqueline Marioni has had two kidney transplants; both organs have rejected or are rejecting her

Vernon Vipers land prep school blueliner

Griffen Barr, from Nanaimo, was captain of Shawnigan Lake club in 2019-20

Okanagan home sales increase over last month, still below 2019 numbers: OMREB

Sales, listings see increase over May’s numbers but dwindle in comparison to 2019

Suspicious activity on Predator Ridge bike trails

A rock deliberately placed on a hazardous corner results in bolstered security, cameras

Vernon Para-snowboarder crushed by competition ban

Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport said Matt Hamilton tested positive for a banned substance

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Pilot project approved: Penticton to allow alcohol in outdoor spaces

For almost two hours, council debated the proposed pilot project, before eventually passing it 4-2

Pilot project approved: Penticton to allow alcohol in outdoor spaces

For almost two hours, council debated the proposed pilot project, before eventually passing it 4-2

Drugs, machete found in truck with stolen plate driven by Salmon Arm man

Chase RCMP arrest driver and have vehicle towed

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Top cop calls video of Kelowna Mountie striking suspect ‘concerning’

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Most Read