Lobby group renews call for highway safety improvements

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REVELSTOKE, B.C. — The death of a highways worker on the Trans-Canada Hwy. has renewed calls for a four-lane divided highway through B.C.’s mountain passes.

The Revelstoke for Trans-Canada Highway Committee has been trying to convince the federal and provincial governments to fix 330 kilometres of old mountain highways, but with little success. This, despite the fact more than 150 people have been killed over the past 10 years on the region’s deadly roads.

The feds have sidestepped the issue thus far, insisting the highway is the province’s responsibility. Meanwhile, the province says it is a federal highway, so it shouldn’t have to shell out $1.5 billion the amount required to twin it.

The committee insists a divided highway would eliminate many slide paths, smooth out curves and protect oncoming traffic from head-on collisions. The lobby group also says trade will improve between B.C. and Alberta, if the road can better accommodate transport trucks.

“This highway was built in the 1960s to 1950s standards,” Mark McKee, chairman of the lobby group, tells local media. “It wasn’t engineered for today’s traffic. It wasn’t built to handle the kind of commercial trucks on the road today.”

The main area of concern stretches from Salmon Arm, B.C. to the Alberta border. About 1,200 trucks pass through Revelstoke each day.

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