Calls for safety improvements to Highway 97A intersection after fatal crash

Click to play video: 'Calls for safety improvements to Highway 97A intersection after fatal crash' Calls for safety improvements to Highway 97A intersection after fatal crash
WATCH: Highway 97A north of Enderby is known for serious crashes. On Monday, residents gathered at the side of the highway to discuss safety improvements. The public meeting was organized in the wake of a fatal collision earlier this year – Sep 27, 2021

Just north of Enderby, B.C., Highway 97A meets Springbend Road on a tight curve.

Locals say the intersection is a hazard, that the layout is confusing, and that drivers flying down the highway regularly ignore the 40 km/hr recommended speed for that tricky stretch.

Read more: Woman, 58, dead after highway collision involving motorcycle, farm tractor

Stephen Seelinger organized a public meeting at the intersection on Monday to advocate for changes.

His sister Janet was killed at the intersection in June.

The 58-year-old was riding a motorcycle and crossed into oncoming traffic.

“My sister unfortunately was a new person to the motorcycle world. She was inexperienced. I can put no blame other than on herself, but what I would like to say about the intersection is that I truly believe in my heart that there were contributing factors to her demise,” Seelinger said.

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Seelinger said, at the time of the collision, road lines hadn’t been repainted after paving.

“My sister did not know where to go on the road,” Seelinger said.

Janet Seelinger was killed in a motorcycle crash in June 2021.
Janet Seelinger was killed in a motorcycle crash in June 2021. Courtesy: Stephen Seelinger

It’s not the only recent serious crash here.

In February, surveillance video captured the moment a semi, loaded with lumber, tipped over as it tried to get around the curve.

The lumber truck ended up hitting two other vehicles and one person was taken to hospital in that incident.

Click to play video: 'Highway 97A crash caught on video' Highway 97A crash caught on video
Highway 97A crash caught on video – Feb 2, 2021

Seelinger would like to see the intersection redesigned, rumble strips added to the highway to slow traffic, and extra signage with flashing lights to warn drivers of the hazard.

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Robin Nielsen has lived roughly 100 meters from the intersection for more than a decade. He’s had to 911 a couple of times after hearing crashes.

“It’s always on my mind actually. I just wonder when is the next time I’m going to hear a loud noise and a crash at this intersection,” Nielsen said.

Read more: Lumber truck rolls, closes Highway 97A near Grindrod, B.C.

If nothing changes, Nielsen fears he will see more of the same.

“There is going to be more lives lost for sure, Nielsen said.

“I just don’t understand why something hasn’t happened already.”

Read more: Vernon widower pleased to see median barriers installed on Highway 97A

The Ministry of Transportation says safety is a top priority and it will be conducting an engineering review of the area to determine if improvements are warranted.

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