The District receives a lot of feedback from the public regarding congestion at the Highway 97 / Glenmore-Beaver Lake intersection.
Although located within the District of Lake Country boundaries, this intersection is owned by, and is the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). Both the District and MOTI are aware that traffic at this intersection can become problematic during peak traffic periods. The current Highway improvement works in Kelowna have only served to exasperate the situation as more drivers utilize Glenmore Road to avoid Highway 97.
Q: Why is this section of road so bad?
A: This intersection was designed and built decades ago when the traffic volumes were a fraction of what they are today.
Q: I can’t see any signs of attempts to improve the situation, what are you doing about it?
A: Although there may be no physical signs of progress, there has, and continues to be a been a lot of planning and political work undertaken by District staff and Council to ensure the focus is not lost amongst the vast volume of similar cases MOTI has to evaluate and manage.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) is currently conducting a study of the Highway 97 corridor between Coldstream and Peachland, including the section of Highway 97 that passes through the District of Lake Country. As part of the Central Okanagan Planning Study (COPS), MOTI actively sought public input through the consultation process. In addition to the COPS, Mayor and Council met with ministers at last Septembers Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention to promote the need for improvements at this intersection.
Once the study is complete any implications to Lake Country’s local road network will need to be carefully considered. The District will continue to collaborate with MOTI to derive solutions to the existing challenges as ultimately any works within 800m of the Highway will require MOTI approval. The MOTI has stated it will continue to monitor and evaluate this intersection and take the appropriate steps to ensure the safety and mobility is maintained.
For more information on COPS visit the MOTI study website at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/okanagansecondcrossing/
Q: Why don’t you just make the road wider to accommodate more cars?
A: It should be noted that increased journey times due to congestion are a reality of population growth and living in an area with these nuisance or inconvenience factors are somewhat individual choices. There are higher priority functional factors that require consideration before these, which are:
- Public safety, which is always paramount.
- Emergency vehicle access and response requirements.
- Active transportation considerations so pedestrians and cyclists can also move around lake country in safe and enjoyable ways.
- Connecting the community with a transportation network that is planned and designed for all modes of transport.
Q: So is the District just going sit around and wait in the hope MOTI will eventually do something about the problem?
A: These solutions are not simple quick fixes, there are many elements to consider and the ultimate solution will be very costly. Mayor, Council and the DLC staff remain proactive and are engaged with the Province in order to ensure this becomes an MOTI priority, but this ultimately remains a MOTI responsibility to lead. Please feel free to share your comments with MOTI also if you haven’t’ already done so.