TNRD director stone-walled on 70 km/h request

Transportation Minister Todd Stone noted he has no say on speed limits

Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) Area E Director Sally Watson didn’t have much success trying to convince Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone to reduce the speed limit through 70 Mile House.

Watson, who was representing her constituents during the Oct. 24 meeting with Stone at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Convention, said the meeting didn’t go well.

“It was obviously his job to disappoint everybody that day.”

The 70 Mile House Safety and Speed Reduction Committee (70MHSSRC) recently sent a petition requesting the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) work with the community to develop and implement infrastructure that will allow safe highway access and travel within the 2.5-kilometre Highway 97 corridor of the community. Members also want the speed limit reduced to 70 km/h until the safety measures are in place.

Watson added the minister said it wasn’t his job to set speed limits, as that is up to the engineers.

“I asked if we could have the speed limit lowered until we had the infrastructure in place for us to travel safely throughout our community. And he said ‘no’.”

Watson noted that Stone said if they lowered the speed limit, residents would pull out on the highway – thinking that traffic was at 70 km/h and he predicted traffic would be travelling at 102 km/h.

She said Stone explained they have done tests and that’s the speed people travel through 70 Mile House, and that would cause accidents.

“My answer to him was that people travel at 102 km/h because the speed limit is 100 km/h, and if we lowered the speed limit, chances are they would travel at 75 km/h.”

However, he didn’t believe that people would slow down, Watson said.

“Basically, he is saying that because people won’t follow regulations, he’s not going to put in regulations.

I told him I was very disappointed and asked him for a timeline for the infrastructure to be in place, and he didn’t have that, so I asked him to give it to the TNRD as soon as he can possibly give it to us.”

Noting she has already met with the committee and the members are disappointed in Stone’s comments, Watson said they hope to get some media attention and have meaningful consultation with the ministry because “none of us have seen the complete highways plan for our community.”

Watson will be asking the TNRD to write a letter to MOTI asking for the timeline.