They hear an unmistakable bang and wonder what they will see this time.
Fred and Shelley Lockwood live on the corner of Highway 97B and 10th Avenue SE, the scene of at least four accidents this summer.
The couple is hoping changes will be made, sooner rather than later, to the dangerous intersection, which includes a crosswalk – particularly since South Canoe School re-opened this year.
They may be getting their wish as the ministry of transportation is currently monitoring the intersection.
“We hear the accidents when they happen and the last one involved three cars and included two kids,” says Shelley. “I don’t think they were hurt but they were crying.”
The Lockwoods, who have lived on their property for 18 years, have witnessed several bad accidents where police, first responders, firefighters and helicopters have responded.
Shelley says the couple’s main concern is the speed drivers are travelling as they approach the intersection, especially when heading north from Enderby where there is a curve that blocks a view of the intersection.
“The speed limit is 90 and if you come around at 90, if there’s actually somebody crossing, it’s just three seconds before you’re there and you have to slam on your brakes,” she says, noting that turning from 10th Avenue north onto the highway can be dangerous. “I can look left and see nobody is coming and before you know it, somebody is on your tail honking and passing on the double solid line.”
Isabelle Gervais, principal of the new Outdoor School located on 10th Avenue SE, says parents have been warned to be careful at the intersection and advised not to let their children cross the road without adult supervision.
Gervais is encouraged to know the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has installed sensors that measure speed and traffic patterns throughout the day.
“We would like to see a reduction of speed,” she says. “I think speed is the major factor, but they might be looking at something else.”
Mayor Nancy Cooper agrees. Heading south on Highway 97B last week to visit the new school, she slowed to pull into the left-hand access lane, which resulted in the driver behind her “laying on the horn.”
On Tuesday, a delegation led by Coun. Chad Eliason and including the mayor, Couns. Kevin Flynn, Louise Wallace Richmond and Tim Lavery, as well as Salmon Arm chief administraive officer Carl Bannister and corporate officer Erin Jackson, met with Education Minister Rob Flemming at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual conference.
Accompanied by Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo and his assistant Holly Cowan, the Salmon Arm delegation focused on the outdoor school and a request for the minister to support Salmon Arm’s plea for improvements to the intersection.
“They did say that student safety is a big concern,” said Flynn, noting Flemming was asked to meet with MOTI. “The Ministry of Education does not have the money for roads, but their support could be huge.”
Later in the day, again with Eliason in the lead, a similar delegation, minus Lavery and Cowan, met with Transportation Minister Claire Trevena.
Armed with many letters, including those from the City of Salmon Arm, School District #83 – North Okanagan-Shuswap, the South Canoe Committee, Shuswap Trails and many other citizens, met with Transportation Minister Claire Trevena.
One City of Salmon Arm letter, written by city engineer Jenn Wilson in 2016, outlined the many issues and asked MOTI for a reduction in the posted speed limit to 70 km/h at the approaches to the intersection, installation of pedestrian- activated flashers on the existing crosswalk overhead signage and a co-ordinated advanced flashing crosswalk warning sign facing northbound traffic on Highway 97B.
Cooper says the minister expressed concern and told the delegation she would send engineers to investigate the intersection.
“They want to make sure they get the right solution, not just put a band-aid on the problem. Cooper says. “I’m glad they’re taking this seriously and hopefully they’ll come up with something.”