The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure made changes improving safety of the Balmoral Road/Trans-Canada Highway Intersection, but some local residents think improvements to nearby underpasses are also required. (MOTI Image)

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure made changes improving safety of the Balmoral Road/Trans-Canada Highway Intersection, but some local residents think improvements to nearby underpasses are also required. (MOTI Image)

South Shuswap residents criticize upgrades to Balmoral Road/Highway 1 intersection

Reliance on frontage roads and narrow underpasses near Blind Bay not good enough

Some South Shuswap residents think the upgrades to the intersection of Balmoral Road and the Trans-Canada Highway did not go far enough to provide good access to the community while fulfilling the goal of reducing collisions at the intersection.

Dena Short, a Blind Bay resident, said she is one of a small group of locals who have been meeting to discuss the changes made to the intersection. Short said the new traffic pattern which eliminated the ability for people to turn left into traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway fulfills the goal of reducing the number of accidents at the intersection. She thinks better access could be provided to the Blind Bay area.

Short said the local population and the amount of traffic going through the area have both increased dramatically in recent years.

Read More: Plan chosen for safety upgrades at Balmoral intersection

Read More: Letter: Balmoral Road/Highway 1 intersection “improvements” don’t impress

She also believes the current traffic pattern, which relies on underpasses beneath the highway east of the main intersection to access the opposite side of the highway, could be confusing to visitors. She also doesn’t think it is ideal for residents who must now share the single-lane underpasses with farm equipment and transport trucks.

Over the winter, Short said she had a close call when a semi truck began sliding on some ice just as she was driving out of one of the underpasses.

“If I had been in the underpass, he couldn’t have stopped,” Short said.

“My heart was in my throat. I thought to myself, I’m not going that way anymore.”

Short said an underpass at the intersection or the widening of one of the existing underpasses would be an improvement to the situation. She and five or six other residents have taken action, including meeting with Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo in hopes of having improvements made at the intersection. Among those who discussed further improvements to the intersection was Terry Barker.

Both Barker and Short said either a new underpass at the Balmoral intersection or a widened underpass accessing the frontage road would have been an improvement.

Read More: 20th anniversary of Shuswap’s Salty Dog Enduro postponed to 2021

Read More: Would-be visitors to Shuswap over the long weekend asked to stay home

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, a new underpass at the Balmoral Intersection would likely cost between $30 and $50 million.

Barker approached a contractor who does major highway work. They put together a proposal suggesting that improvements to the underpass just east of the Balmoral intersection could be completed for approximately $3,023,000.

Barker said he thinks the intersection in its current state is a poor introduction to the area for tourists and less than ideal. He did acknowledge that the improvements that have already been made will cut down on the number of vehicle crash deaths at the intersection.

According to the ministry, it will be monitoring the new route using the underpasses and frontage roads in order to ensure it is still functioning safely. Staff are setting up traffic counting devices on the frontage road and have been patrolling the route to determine that the underpasses and maintenance in the area is adequate.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

trans-canada highway

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Phil McLachlan - West K News)
Proposed West Kelowna 4.75 per cent tax increase reduced

Mayor and Council settled upon a proposed 4.05 per cent tax increase for citizens of West Kelowna

Les Louis collaborated with Clint George to create the Pelmewash Parkway Indigenous sculptures in Lake Country. (Video still)
First Indigenous territory recognition made in Lake Country

Council makes historic move after Syilx artists create parkway sculptures

Authorities have confirmed a case of COVID-19 within a school in Kelowna. Someone within the Rutland Elementary School community has tested positive. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express/FILE)
Authorities confirm COVID-19 exposure in Kelowna school

Interior Health (IH) states they will be following up with anyone potentially exposed

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said the city won’t look at changing its policy regarding automatic cost of living pay bumps for himself and city councillors, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. (File)
Kelowna won’t look at nixing automatic pay raises for council, mayor

Mayor Colin Basran said the raise is minuscule, won’t look at changing policy amid residents’ COVID struggles

Kevin Lee Barrett is charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. (Facebook)
Court hears of victim’s injuries in West Kelowna attempted murder trial

Two-week-long trial continues for Kevin Barrett, accused of trying to kill mother in West Kelowna

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Thirty-four unionized workers represented by MoveUp started rotating job action at VantageOne Credit Union's two Vernon locations Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Workers are calling for basic job protection and fair security. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
VantageOne staff urged to take tentative deal

It’s been more than one month since union workers went on strike

(File photo)
Fraud alert issued by North Okanagan police

Busy start to year with more than 30 frauds reported already

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Vaccine rollout is focused on health care workers first, especially those dealing with long-term care facilities. (Nathan Denette - Canadian Press)
General public shouldn’t expect vaccines until fall: Interior Health South Okanagan Similkameen

Interior Health focused on vaccinating long-term and first-line care workers

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read