EDITORIAL: Other highway projects needed

Westside Road improvements obviously needed but attention also needed at dangerous Highway 97 intersections

There was some good news Friday for residents on the west side of Okanagan Lake or those who go for a drive to take in the picturesque views.

The provincial government is investing $45 million over five years to upgrade additional portions of Westside Road.

“For too many years now Westside Road has been on the BCAA worst roads list and our government is going to fix that,” said Premier Christy Clark.

“We made a commitment to improve safety and reliability on  Westside Road, and we’re delivering.”

And no one can question the need for improvements.

Westside Road is windy and narrow and the open bank dropping down to the lake poses considerable risk. Often, motorists become frustrated behind slow-moving recreational vehicles or large trucks, and that can lead to rash decisions.

Fatal accidents are not uncommon on the stretch between Vernon and Kelowna.

However, while the Westside Road project is important, let’s hope the premier and her government colleagues don’t ignore other vital transportation enhancements needed in the Okanagan.

And specifically, the Ministry of Transportation needs to speed up the process for improvements at Stickle Road and Highway 97, along Swan Lake, and Highway 97 and Bernie Road, along Kalamalka Lake. Both have been the site of fatal accidents or near-misses and something must be done.

One can make the case that Westside Road is moving ahead because there has been a lot of media attention and it’s been deemed the worst road in B.C.

However, these other projects are as equally necessary to ensure the safety of the travelling public.