NEWS

Deadly Highway 99 crash prompts petition for safety assessment

01/12/2015 08:54 EST | Updated 03/14/2015 05:59 EDT
The latest crash on Highway 99 north of Lillooet, B.C. has prompted a nearby resident to start an online petition to reassess the need for concrete barriers along the region's highways.

"I was very upset by other families being impacted by a huge loss, and this is a story that comes up quite often in this area," said Deanne Zeidler.

On Jan. 2, a car carrying a family of five crashed on Highway 99 just north of Lillooet, killing the mother and her 7-year-old son. It's the latest in a series of crashes in the area, many of them fatal.

The highway is narrow and windy, with uneven pavement and a steep embankment leading down to the Fraser River.

- Scroll down to watch a YouTube video of a drive down Highway 99

When Zeidler heard about the crash and spoke to other residents about it, she heard a lot of concern about the safety of highways 99, 12 and 40 in the region.

"I thought it would be a good opportunity to bring together the many voices and bring them to the Ministry (of Transportation)," said Zeidler.

So far, the petition has gathered more than 1,400 signatures and many comments highlighting people's concerns about conditions on the highway.

Some comments include stories of family and friends who died in accidents.

Zeidler thinks concrete barriers could make the highways safer, but she said the first priority should be a full safety assessment.

She says the last assessment was done in 2002, before improvements were made to the Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler.

Highway safety review planned

Todd Hubner, Cariboo Region District transportation manager, said the recent crash has prompted a review of the highway's safety conditions.

"Anytime that we have a significant crash or incident of this nature, I think it's incumbent upon the ministry and other stakeholders to do everything we can to prevent further incidents," said Hubner.

He said the review could take place as early as this spring and would evaluate speed, curvature, and other factors to see if barriers are warranted.

On mobile? Click here to view a video of driving on Highway 12 near Lillooet, B.C.

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