Political opposition continues to grow over plans for a dangerous intersection.
Ministry of Transportation representatives presented their concept for Stickle Road and Highway 97 to the Regional District of North Okanagan board Wednesday.
“This presentation insulted my intelligence and the intelligence of everyone,” said director Akbal Mund.
“They say lowering the speed is dangerous but according to ICBC and the RCMP, lowering the speed is safer.”
The new proposal calls for a protected T intersection to allow for left turns from Stickle Road on to the highway towards Vernon.
There would be a separate left turn with turn-around access for the Silver Star RV Park area and the ministry would eliminate highway cross-movements and left-hand turns from the RV park.
There would also be new acceleration lanes leaving Stickle Road and existing deceleration lanes entering Stickle Road from the highway would be lengthened.
“The ministry has not listened to our concerns,” said director Mike Macnabb, who wants a traffic signal and the highway speed limit reduced.
“The reality is that you can put a speed limit there. I drove through Falkland and Westwold and the speed limit is lowered, and there are traffic signals across the province.”
Director Scott Anderson also questions why a traffic signal won’t be installed.
“We ask for something and it’s kind of getting ignored,” he said.
However, while some politicians are upset with the ministry, the director for the Swan Lake corridor says the proposal addresses current issues.
“At some point you call it a day and say, ‘What are you willing to do?’ This is what they are willing to do,” said Bob Fleming. “This is a huge improvement over the previous proposal (no left-turns).”
Ministry officials insist that an “artificially” low speed zone on highways results in aggressive driving, and traffic signals impede the flow of traffic and leads to rear-end crashes.
“We’re not against signals but it’s putting them in at the appropriate place,” said Shawn Grant, a ministry regional manager. Grant also says that a light can lead to long lines of vehicles backing up.
“Signals act like a lightning rod. You draw more traffic and the queues get longer and the delays get longer. Signals occur in more urban environments. It’s out of character on that highway.”
The Ministry of Transportation will hold a public open house on its Stickle Road proposal July 29 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Prestige Hotel