Regional District Backs Call for Twinning of Highway 16
Prince George, B.C.- Highway 16, between the Alberta border and Prince Rupert has become a major route for transport and visitor traffic and the Regional District is now backing a resolution from the Village of Valemount to have the highway twinned.
Valemount recently approved a resolution that will be sent to the Yellowhead Highway Association calling for that Association to work with the governments of the Provinces of BC and Alberta to have the highway twinned from 3km west of Hinton all the way through to Prince Rupert.
The resolution notes there have been 678 reported vehicle incidents, including 13 fatalities and 143 injuries in the jurisdiction of the Valemount RCMP alone over the past five years. “The traffic is extremely heavy” says Valemount Mayor Jeannette Townsend “The Yellowhead pass is the least closed of all mountain passes in North America so many of the transport trucks are using the Yellowhead Highway.”
She says in addition to the number of crashes, there is a lack of cell service along much of the route, which means getting help to those who need it is often delayed.
The Regional District of Fraser Fort George shares the concern about public safety along the route and is supporting the resolution.
The Provincial Ministry of Transportation has announced a number of improvements to the highway including new passing lanes between Prince George and Prince Rupert, and a major reconstruction project at the rail crossing west of Terrace, but a full twinning does not seem to be in the cards. Mayor Townsend says the likelihood of the Province of B.C. approving a twinning project along the full length of Highway 16 is slim “But if you ask for the moon, maybe you’ll get a couple of stars. I hope they will look to see where the most dangerous spots are, where most of the accidents take place and at least create passing lanes for safety purposes.”
She says there have also been discussions with the BC Ministry of Transportation about improving cell service along the route.”So why not have the cell providers provide an extra tower for safety purposes? I think that’s very important.”