Police strictly enforcing lower speed limit in grizzly territory

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LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Police will once again be strictly enforcing a lower speed limit on a section of the Trans-Canada Hwy. known for its grizzly bears.

A nine kilometre stretch of the TCH through Lake Louise has had its speed limit dropped to 70 km-h from 90 km-h for the third straight year. The lower speed limit remains in effect until Sept. 30, and so far police have handed out more than 2,000 speeding tickets there over the past two years.

“It’s always an uphill grind to get people to slow down on the highway, but we believe if we can do that, it will give them a bit more time to react,” Ed Abbott, chief park warden for Kootenay and Yoho national parks and the Lake Louise unit of Banff National Park told local media. “It always takes a bit of an effort to do it, but if drivers slow down, it only adds two minutes to their total travel time. Everyone has two minutes.”

About 60 grizzly bears live in Banff National Park, and each year some are killed by vehicles. Not only is the grizzly population at risk, but hitting a bear can be deadly for the driver as well.

“We could sit out there all day and continuously write tickets, but we don’t have the manpower,” Const. France Levesque from the Lake Louise detachment told local media. “When drivers hit Alberta and they have just finished with the winding canyons near Golden, they think this is a nice stretch of highway (between Banff and Lake Louise),” she added.

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