Director of Electoral Area E of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) Eileen Benedict recently met with the B.C. minister of transportation to request more passing lanes on Hwy. 16.
Benedict said the main reason for the request was to increase safety along the highway between Burns Lake and Smithers.
“There needs to be more passing lanes because of industrial traffic going to Prince Rupert,” she said. “We always have people who want to pass them; they can’t stay behind a truck, and it makes it dangerous because sometimes people decide to pass them in places that are not safe.”
“So having more passing lanes makes it a lot more convenient, and the traffic seems to flow a lot better that way.”
Benedict said she was told during the meeting that the ministry already plans to add two passing lanes on Hwy. 16 – between Burns Lake and Smithers – in 2017.
The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has not formally announced this project and did not provide any details to Lakes District News.
“At this stage, there is no new information on these passing lanes,” said Sonia Lowe, a spokesperson for the ministry. “Once we do have more information about these plans, we will update the public.”
Adding passing lanes on Hwy. 16 and Hwy. 37 has already been identified as a priority by the ministry in the ministry’s 10-year transportation plan – B.C. on the Move.
Benedict met with minister Todd Stone during the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention last month. Also at the meeting were Burns Lake acting mayor John Illes and Bill Miller, RDBN Director of Electoral Area B.