A crash on Jan. 17 was the second on that day, followed by another crash on Jan. 18 at the dangerous corridor of Highway 97 and 3A. (Facebook)

A crash on Jan. 17 was the second on that day, followed by another crash on Jan. 18 at the dangerous corridor of Highway 97 and 3A. (Facebook)

Dangerous intersection near Penticton getting safety upgrades this summer

Protected turning lane will be built off Highway 3A to Highway 97

The contract to improve safety at the Highway 3 and Highway 97 intersection in Kaleden will soon go out to tender.

The Ministry of Transportation announced in January that they would be conducting a safety review as well as installing a protected turning lane for drivers coming off Highway 3A to Highway 97.

After further review, the Ministry of Transportation will be cutting one southbound lane of Highway 97, and replacing it with an acceleration lane for drivers to use to merge into the northbound lane.

The design of the reworked intersection is now complete and construction is aimed to begin as early as this summer.

The ministry decided a protected left-turn lane would be the most effective and least expensive safety improvement for the intersection.

READ MORE: Further safety upgrades being looked at for Highway 97 near Penticton

The intersection received provincial attention following three crashes in less than two days in January, as well as heavy traffic following the flooding in November 2021 that left Highway 3 the only route to and from the Lower Mainland.

“After conversations with community members, local government, First Nations, local emergency services and first responders, we are confident this protected left-turn lane will help address the need to significantly improve safety for people who travel through the area. Particularly, I’m grateful to local RDOS director Subrina Monteith for her leadership,” said Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen, on behalf of Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Russell and Monteith had several meetings with government on the dangerous corridor that has seen a lot of accidents and near-misses.

Over 4,000 people signed a petition asking for urgent changes to the intersection. That petition was presented to the ministry of transportation.

READ MORE: Petition grows to 4,000 signatures for dangerous intersection changes

The ministry will also conduct a traffic analysis of Highway 97 in the Kaleden area in the summer, when volumes are at peak levels. Along with the crash history for the area, the results of this analysis will help develop options for other potential safety improvements, said the ministry in a release.

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