July 2, 2014 9:14 pm

WATCH: Dangerous stretch of Highway 97 gets safety upgrades

There are already concrete median barriers on some sections of Highway 97 between Lake Country and Vernon.

Now the entire stretch will get the safety improvements.

“We will be investing $5 million for the installation of concrete median barrier south of Vernon. This barrier runs about 11 kilometres in length,” says Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.

Traffic volumes on the highway are steadily increasing.

Unfortunately, so too are the number of cross-over crashes.

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The most recent on June 4th, when a Lake Country resident was killed when his vehicle crossed the centre line smashing head on into on-coming traffic.

“With over 20,000 vehicles using this important stretch of highway each and every day, increasing focus on safety becomes that much more important,” says Stone.

But the government is not freeing up the cash for safety improvements to the recognized danger spot of the highway intersection with Birnie Road, the entrance to the Vernon landfill, which the local regional district has been pushing for.

The minister says it’s a matter of balancing the need for highway upgrades with the ability to pay.

“This means you can’t do as much as you’d like to do as fast as you’d like to do it.”

After the barriers are installed, the 90 kilometer an hour speed limit will be increased by 10 kilometers.

The work starts in the fall and will be done in off-peak travel hours.

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