If a new plan is adopted, the traffic light at Alexander Street will remain, but the one at Ross Street will be removed and replaced with a light at Fourth Street. This will lengthen the distance between the current traffic lights at Alexander Street and Ross Street, in hopes to make stopping safer. –Image Credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

If a new plan is adopted, the traffic light at Alexander Street will remain, but the one at Ross Street will be removed and replaced with a light at Fourth Street. This will lengthen the distance between the current traffic lights at Alexander Street and Ross Street, in hopes to make stopping safer. –Image Credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

Intersection changes intended to make Trans-Canada safer

Council to seek public input on traffic lights and access through downtown

In order to improve safety on the Trans-Canada Highway, Salmon Arm city council is proposing several major changes to traffic lights and access through downtown.

Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s directotor of engineering and public works, met recently with representatives of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) and ICBC to discuss the insurance corporation’s 2013 TCH Corridor Safety Study.

At the Feb. 28 council meeting, Niewenhuizen advised that representatives from both organizations assured there is money available to make some changes.

“We looked at what are the options for moving forward,” said Niewenhuizen, noting that because of the number of incidents, transportation officials suggested it might be better to focus on the easterly half (of the downtown corridor), concentrating on Ross Street to Sixth Avenue. “MOTI indicated they were in budget phase and told us to let them know if we’re in and ICBC said they would extend their funding commitment.”

Improvements would include relocation of the traffic lights from Ross Street to Fourth Street (Tim Horton’s corner) to allow full traffic movement on Fourth, including advanced left-turn traffic lights.

On Sixth Street, changes would limit access McGuire Lake Park. Drivers would no longer be able to turn left (east) onto the TCH to go up Tank Hill, but would be able to turn left onto Sixth from the highway.

Also recommended is the reduction of access at Ross Street and the Trans-Canada by the installation of a concrete median to restrict flow across the highway.

Westbound drivers would be able to turn right off the highway onto Ross Street and right from Ross onto the highway, but would not be able to cross the highway, turn left onto the highway or access Ross Street from the eastbound lane of the TCH.

A built-in ramp would allow fire trucks from Hall #1 to cross the highway and a large red light would illuminate to advise drivers of an emergency, similar to a setup on Highway 97A through Vernon.

As well, MOTI officials have agreed to allow gateway signage and speed-reader boards at the entrance to the downtown area.

“The ministry has a new protocol and would allow an entrance sign; no archway, but maybe an L-shaped arm saying ‘now entering downtown Salmon Arm’ and it could be somewhere around McGuire Lake Park,” said Niewenhuizen of alerting westbound traffic.

Like the Shuswap Avenue intersection, all downtown traffic lights would have advanced, green-arrow lights to make left-hand turns safer.

Coun. Kevin Flynn was onboard with the proposed changes, particularly with the flashing reader boards. He wants to give residents the chance to have their say.

“I think with what’s going on in the community, we owe it to the community to revisit this in some public forum to inform people about this,” he said, referring to recent protests on the highway. “People need to understand the changes and implications and budget for this, and now is the time to focus on what can be done. It’s top of mind for the community and top of mind for us.”

Coun. Alan Harrison approved of focusing on the east end of the downtown section of highway and recommended the Chamber of Commerce and Salmon Arm Downtown be made aware of proposed changes.

“The absolute key to safety is the short stopping distance between Alexander and Ross; that light is a key and moving that light and stopping crossing at Ross Street is important too,” Harrison said, adding his support for an open house. “We’ll want input from the chamber and DIA; things are getting busier, the time is now.”

Tim Lavery agreed it’s important that council is seen as providing leadership but put the onus on members of the public to give their opinions.

“There needs to be clarity from key stakeholders as to what they want or don’t want and there is also a responsibility for the public to get up to snuff by reading the (2013 Traffic Safety) report,” he said, issuing a general invitation. “Come on down and listen to some the key suggestions and how they fit now and in the bigger plan – it’s more than just criticism. Listen to some of the suggestions on the table and give your own input.”

In terms of funding the proposed highway changes, Niewenhuizen told council that MOTI advised the ministry is now in budget talks and if the city shows a willingness to proceed with a tri-partite funding agreement, money will be put aside in their budget.

“This was the first meeting to inform council there is an opportunity. We don’t know how much is still on the table, but if we want to go ahead, we need to get in touch quickly,” he said, assuring council that staff could organize an open house but that timing would depend on the availability of MOTI representatives. “We need assurance from council to move forward and instead of this year’s budget, we could do a letter of understanding and put it in next year’s budget.”

Councillors agreed unanimously to forward the 2013 ICBC Corridor Safety Report, including recent MOTI policy changes, to the Chamber of Commerce, Salmon Arm Downtown, Economic Development Society, Canadian Trucking Alliance and British Columbia Trucking Association, and request a response within 45 days. Council also approved a second motion to revisit and review the 2013 Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and ICBC Traffic and Safety study first phase of improvements with costs to be considered.

Meanwhile, in response to the number of accidents and near misses, the local RCMP detachment partnered with the East Trans-Canada Highway Patrol Unit to focus on the downtown portion of the highway.

On Monday Feb. 27, Salmon Arm RCMP officers and the East Trans-Canada Highway Patrol Unit handed out 39 tickets and warnings under the provincial Motor Vehicle Act. Offences included “unsafe speed, use of electronic devices, intersection offences as well as failing to wear seatbelts”

“One driver was found to be prohibited from driving and the appropriate action was taken under the provincial legislation,” wrote Salmon Arm RCMP Staff Sgt. Scott West in a news release. “Another driver had a vehicle that was removed from the road due to unsafe equipment.”

West says local RCMP officers and members of the highway patrol unit will continue to work together in an effort to make the highway safer.

Salmon Arm council

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Johann Oriana and Neo Moren paint a Yoshi head on June 11 at Salmon Arm Secondary’s Sullivan campus. (Zachary Roman - Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm Secondary grads create with parking lot canvas

Students paint the parking lot June 11, leaving their mark on the school

Canadian blues sensation Colin James will close down Saturday night, Aug. 14 of the 2021 digital Salmon Arm Roots Blues Festival. (Black Press Media file photo)
Salmon Arm’s Roots & Blues branches out for second online festival

Nine acts, including Colin James, Caleigh Cardinal, to perform on festival’s website Aug. 13 and 14.

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. The website for a Broadway theatre showing "Springsteen on Broadway" said it would only allow guests "fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine" — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
No Springsteen for you: AstraZeneca not good enough to qualify for Broadway ticket

Victoria area mayor among those unable to attend New York entertainment due to COVID-19 restriction

The crosswalk is at Third Street and Mackenzie and was installed on June 17. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
Painting a rainbow: First Pride crosswalk installed in Revelstoke

‘It signals to the community that this city is inclusive,’ Mayor Gary Sulz

Most Read