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Speed limit reduction touted as a win for Columbia Valley bighorn sheep

A speed limit reduction from 90 km/h to 70 km/h along a stretch of highway south of Radium Hot Springs is being touted as a win for local wildlife and highway drivers.

According to officials with the Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA office, this has been a year in the making.

“MLA Doug Clovechok, along with Mayor Clara Reinhardt, RDEK Director Gerry Wilkie, Kent Kebe, and the Windermere Rod and Gun Club have lobbied the government for the past year to reduce speeds on the Radium Hill coming into town,” said officials. “This has been just one aspect of the larger work they have carried out over the last few years towards getting an overpass.”

That said, the speed limit reduction will not take effect until the fall, as the sheep have moved to their summer grazing areas.

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The new speed limit will apply from the top of One Mile Hill, down to the 60 km/h zone in Radium.

Wildsight said this is a win, but there is still work to be done.

“While we’re celebrating this step, we know that we’re going to keep talking to the government, keep the pressure up to make sure we get the wildlife overpass,” said John Bergenske, Wildsight Conservation Director. “While the speed limit is helpful, until we get an overpass with fencing, we know there’s still a high risk to both sheep and motorists.”

Bergenske noted that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) has committed to building a wildlife overpass in future to further reduce vehicle collisions.

According to Wildsight, the One Mile Hill area leading into Radium Hot Springs has long been known as a dangerous place for drivers and bighorn sheep. The organization noted that 13 animals died on the highways near the community throughout 2021.

 

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