Concerns over highway signage approaching Renfrew

An car crash near Renfrew Road and Highway 97 last Friday night has nearby neighbour Kathleen North amplifying her demand that improvements be made to the intersection.

“I’ve been making calls for the past three years about that right hand turn,” she said.

As local drivers are well aware, Highway 97’s single southbound land splits into two as it leads up to Renfrew. The first 100-or-so metres of the lane is supposed to only be used for vehicles making a right-hand turn onto Renfrew, but many drivers treat it like the passing lane has already begun.

The first and most prominent sign drivers will see indicates that a 1.3 km passing lane is about to begin. Three signs later it explains how the lanes are supposed to be used, but it’s partially obstructed by another sign reading ‘End slide area.’

“People see the end-of-avalanche-sign then they don’t look for anything else,” North says, adding that the highway would be safer without the sign that notifies drivers of the passing lane.

“You don’t need to know 1,000 metres in advance that a passing lane is coming up, especially knowing somebody could get hurt.”

Danielle Pope, media relations with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, says “Safety is our top priority and clear highway signage is an important part of our safety program. We thank this resident for sharing her concerns.

“While these signs do meet our current engineering safety standards, we will revisit the signage at this intersection with our ministry’s traffic engineers.”

Fire Chief Dennis Craig said last week’s accident involved two northbound vehicles and was not a result of the confusing turning lane. But nonetheless, “People need to realize the passing lane starts after the turning lane,” he said. “People continually merge into that lane and go right through.”

He said crews were on scene for about an hour. Three people were involved in the accident, two were released at the scene and the other was transported to the hospital for observation.

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