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Speed limits won't increase on northern B.C. highway

Speed limits are increasing on some southern highways but not in the north. - CONTRIBUTED
Speed limits are increasing on some southern highways but not in the north.
— image credit: CONTRIBUTED

Northerners don't want to drive faster, according to public opinion polling conducted as part of a review of speed limits on provincial highways.

It means while speed limits are being increased to 120 km/h on stretches of southern highways, Hwy16 will remain at 100 km/h.

Only 42 per cent of northerners who participated in surveys during the review were in favour of having the highways speed limit adjusted. Most of the support for the increase came from the Lower Mainland with 81 per cent in favour.

Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin said the response from residents of northwest B.C. reflects wisdom.

“I'm not at all surprised,” he said.

“We have complex, windy roads. We don't have straightways so it doesn't surprise me that they said no. They were quite satisfied with the speed limits as they are,” said Austin.

The transportation ministry reviewed approximately 9,100 km of highways and 1,300 km have been deemed fit to have their speed limit increased.

Provincial transportation Minister Todd Stone said limits are being raised where it is noticed that vehicles are already exceeding the posted limit.

The new 120 km/h speed zone will only be applied to certain sections of multi-lane and divided highways. Signs with the 120 km/h limit are going up on the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Kamloops limit right away and speed limits will be raised on other highway sections when new signs arrive.

Although speed limits are on the rise highway safety is still the number one priority to the province, says the province.

Provincial highways will continue to be monitored and there will be an ongoing evaluation of speed limits and safety measures by a provincial committee.

A RCMP officer said the police force's focus won't change.

“Our priority in B.C. remains traffic safety and harm reduction,” said Sergeant Rob Vermeulen who speaks for the RCMP on provincial issues.

“The BC RCMP will continue to concentrate our enforcement efforts in the area of reducing the number of people killed or injured on our roadways,” he said.

Other than speed limits, last year's review also examined the requirements for winter tires, keeping to the right except to pass and wildlife collisions.

The transportation ministry will also pilot two active wildlife detections systems on Highway 3 between Cranbrook and Sparwood to help prevent wildlife collisions. LED warning signs in high crash locations will also be tested.

New signage urging motorists to pull over if they have more than five vehicles following them will be installed as a response to some frustrated responses from B.C. residents who encounter slower moving vehicles.

 

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