New signage was installed leading up to the intersection of 10th Avenue SW and Highway 97B in 2019, but concerns have been raised about continuing danger. (File photo)

New signage was installed leading up to the intersection of 10th Avenue SW and Highway 97B in 2019, but concerns have been raised about continuing danger. (File photo)

Improvements urged for Salmon Arm’s Highway 97B/10th Avenue SE intersection

Council may bring up overpass with transportation ministry as crossing under provincial control

Like potholes in spring, concerns about the safety of the intersection of Highway 97B and 10th Avenue SE in Salmon Arm return.

Resident Jeanetta Zorn wrote to city council to say that the flashing light at 10th is not having the desired effect of slowing traffic. She said with the arrival of spring and cyclists and pedestrians trying to cross, she would like to see a light activated by a pedestrian, rather than one that’s always on.

She said the best solution would be an overpass for pedestrians and cyclists.

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren said Zorn had an interesting suggestion and suggested it be forwarded to the traffic safety committee.

Mayor Alan Harrison noted it is a provincial highway so the city is not in control of it.

“We’ve worked pretty hard probably over the past five or six years to get what’s there now. Presently the department of highways is monitoring it and taking any information and stats on the change…”

He suggested council speak again to ministry officials at the Union of BC Municipalities, noting that Ms. Zorn’s suggestion is one that council brought up with them in the past.

“The difficulty with that suggestion is it’s a blind turn coming from the south end. And highways will not put a pedestrian signalization there for that reason. They feel it makes it more dangerous. Not to say we can’t talk further about it, but I thought that’s information that might be useful before we make a motion.”

Read more: New signage at hazardous Salmon Arm intersection result of ‘nudging’

Read more: Salmon Arm council to lobby for highway improvements, police officers and more

Coun. Tim Lavery said he thinks it’s valid to go to the UBCM ministerial meetings and also have city staff speak to local ministry of highway staff.

“And I think we need to bring this up again and rattle those chains when we meet with the minister.”

He said a pedestrian overpass is likely what needs to be done and council should bring up the idea with the ministry repeatedly.

Harrison said as an interim measure he could write to ministry staff, tell them the city is receiving feedback from citizens and ask for statistics and information they’ve gathered about the road.

Lindgren asked that staff respond to Zorn, remind her the highway falls under the province’s jurisdiction, and ask her to forward her letter, or one similar to it, and ask anybody else who’s worrying about the issue, to forward them to the appropriate provincial ministry.

Council members present voted unanimously to move ahead with the suggestions. Coun. Chad Eliason was absent.
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