Collision: RCMP report this semi-trailer was travelling westbound Friday morning when the driver lost control

Calling for TCH upgrades

CSRD: Directors angry about fatalities and highway closures.

Discussion was quick to flow when Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors were asked to support a request for a meeting and information on federal plans to upgrade the Trans-Canada Highway.

Newly elected Area A Rural Golden director Karen Cathcart’s Jan. 6 letter to Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilkes expressed “deep concern” about the five fatalities that occurred on Highway 1 between Golden and Revelstoke over the Christmas season.

Cathcart said she is aware highway upgrades have been discussed at the ministry level for many years and asked, “What are your plans to upgrade the highway in the near future? Are you able to provide timelines for funding?”

The Area A director also asked for a meeting with Wilkes while he is in town this week.

“But this is a problem for all of us,” she said.

Directors agreed.

Back in the Revelstoke mayor’s chair after a two-term hiatus, Mark McKee pointed out he is putting a presentation together for a meeting with Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone.

McKee provided new directors with background information, explaining that when he last sat at the CSRD board, he was part of a group with representation from Cache Creek to the Alberta border which had asked the province and the federal government to each ante up $150 million per year for up to 10 years for TCH upgrades.

Acknowledging that while money for upgrades is not likely to appear for a “big fix” in the near future, he said there are operational issues that can help reduce the number of accidents and fatalities.

“On average there are 15 fatal accidents and 220 injuries a year,” he said, noting there were seven highway closures in the first seven days of the year and the Revelstoke highway rescue team was called out 12 times from Jan. 1-5.

“We had 67 road closures in our area last year and we’re going to get a higher number of fatalities; it’s getting horrendous.”

As well, he called for an investigation into whether current road contractors are working well enough to maintain the highway.

McKee also expressed frustration with the number and length of road closures.

“When the highway is closed for eight to 10 hours, it is because the accident investigator has to travel from Kamloops or Kelowna and has to pass all the (stopped) traffic,” he said. “He should be living in Revelstoke, as should the coroner. That would take an eight-hour closure and reduce it immediately.”

On Dec. 27, when two fatalities occurred west of Revelstoke, McKee says the highway was left open from Golden to Revelstoke and became jam-packed as westbound travellers continued to pour into the community.

“Churches were opening doors, grocery stores were running out of food as were restaurants. What happens when you have hundreds of people on the roads and it’s minus 19?” he said. “Government has to start getting the message. I have met with RCMP, search and rescue and first responders and nobody is happy.”

Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz added his support, advising directors he has also set up meetings to discuss the issues.

“I could go into a 20-minute discussion as well and we have to get the whole corridor on-board,” he said, noting the time to wait is long gone. “We have to yell and scream.”

Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper also offered support saying, “Fatalities are not acceptable and neither are the road closures – we would like to  be included.”

“I support this enthusiastically,” added Area C South Shuswap director Paul Demenok, who pointed out his area has had its share of fatal accidents this year as well.

Area E Rural Sicamous director and CSRD chair Rhona Martin told directors that before the highway was four-laned near Malakwa in the 1980s, it was the scene of many bad accidents.

“Since 1987, there has been only one fatality and that was a trucker who had an aneurism, so you can see how four-laning saves lives.”


Just Posted

Puttin’ on the Foil playing the Last Drop tonight

Andy Siegel Special to the Review Don’t miss out on another great… Continue reading

Growls and Hugs for May 22

Someone or something got your hackles up? Or maybe someone made you… Continue reading

Roads and weather for Revelstoke today

Scheduled construction: Highway 1 east:Paving operations between East Boundary of Mount Revelstoke… Continue reading

VIDEO: Canadian breaks women’s world record for longest plank

Dana Glowacka, of Montreal, held a plank for four hours and 20 minutes

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

Okanagan woman celebrates 101 years young on the back of a Harley Davidson

Last Saturday Violet Madeline celebrated 101 years. A member of the Lower… Continue reading

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Lake Country joins celebration of local government professionals

The district joined communities across the province by planting a new tree

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read