Lighted speed-reader signs are on their way to Highway 97 in Lac La Hache, aimed at improving road safety along the town’s corridor.
The new signs are set to be installed on either end of the stretch of highway where the speed drops to 60 km/h, after a grant request was approved earlier this month by the Cariboo Regional District.
“Businesses and residents have both noticed how fast people go through town,” said Al Richmond, CRD area director for 108 Mile Ranch-Lac La Hache. “We’ve been trying to get something done about it for almost two years, working on finding a way to fund it.”
The cost of the two signs, which will be installed in both north and southbound directions to remind motorists to reduce their speed, is approximately $12,000.
The Lac La Hache Community Club worked closely with Richmond to complete a grant application for partial funding of the project. A contribution of up to $6,500 from the Area G Grants for Assistance fund was approved by the CRD board Dec. 10.
ICBC has also committed to funding $6,000 towards the signs as part of its road improvement program, which has helped fund thousands of projects around the province aimed at bolstering road safety.
Additionally, Dawson Road Maintenance will donate the time and manpower to install the posts and signs, Richmond said, noting the pins for the posts are already in place with the placement approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI).
Richmond had initially lobbied for the installation of a crosswalk with flashing lights – he noted elementary students crossing the highway on their way to school is one of the biggest safety concerns – but that option was turned down by MoTI.
When the speed-reader signs were agreed upon, Richmond faced another roadblock when BC Hydro officials told him it would be at least 2.5 years before permits to run power to the signs could be granted.
“We couldn’t wait that long, so we will be going with solar-powered signs instead,” he said. “There will be additional maintenance costs because of it, you have to replace the batteries and whatnot. But there was no other way of accomplishing what we wanted to do otherwise.”
The signs will be ordered within the next few weeks, and delivery should be around six weeks after that, barring any supply chain delays, he said.
“I’m hoping we’re going to get them up and running in the new year,” Richmond said. “I had hoped it would be sooner, but it has been two years already and we’ll just have to be patient a little longer.”