A meeting of residents and officials was held at Seventy Mile Access Centre on March 16 to discuss the highway speed limit through the 70 Mile House highway corridor.
Todd Hubner and Michelle Schilling represented the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart and her assistant Lori Pilon attended on behalf of the B.C. Liberal government. Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement and Clinton RCMP members were also present.
Tom Grantham, local resident and 70 Mile House Safety and Speed Reduction Committee member, acted as facilitator.
Hubner began by describing the actions the ministry has taken. He said traffic was monitored and found to be conforming to the existing speed limit of 100 km/h, with speeds varying between 94 and 105 km/h.
He then defended the current limit to the 20-plus residents by pointing to accident statistics, which showed very few reported accidents.
Residents then had an opportunity to describe the “harrowing experiences” they had along the highway corridor. Vehicles making left turns from the highway have been passed on the left and on the right shoulder at high speeds, and vehicles looking for a street or driveway have had trucks hugging their rear bumpers.
The RCMP members said they felt that 100 km/h was too high for the area. They also reported they had no trouble writing tickets for speeds up to 125 km/h through town.
Tom then told the meeting he had driven the corridor at both 100 and 70 km/h and said the difference between the two was 35 seconds. He emphasized this small amount of additional time creates a much safer environment for drivers.
The meeting lasted more than an hour and a lot of useful information was presented.
Vic Popiel is the 70 Mile House correspondent.