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Speed limits increasing along Hwy 99

Increases follow provincial safety review


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Following a province-wide safety and speed review, changes are coming to B.C.'s highways, including speed-limit increases along the Sea to Sky corridor.

"The actions we're taking were the subject of a thorough technical review by our engineers, and the ministry is committed to ongoing monitoring and evaluation of speed limits and other highway safety measures," said transportation minister Todd Stone in a press release.

Changes to Sea to Sky Highway speed limits include: 80 km/h to 90km/h from Eagle Ridge interchange, Horseshoe Bay to south of the Stawamus River Bridge near Squamish, 80 km/h and 90 km/h to 100km/h from north of Depot Road, Squamish to Function Junction, 80 km/h to 90km/h from Whistler Heliport Road to Pemberton Boundary and 90 km/h to 100km/h from the Pavillion Lime Plant east of Lillooet to the Highway 97 junction.

The review also resulted in the launch of an interesting pilot project: Variable speed zones that use state-of-the-art technology to adjust speed limits based on weather and road conditions.

One of the three initial variable speed zones will be along the Sea to Sky, the other two along the Trans-Canada and Coquihalla highways.

"It's able to take into account the local weather conditions, the volume of traffic and a number of other factors to essentially make recommendations to the Ministry of Transportation engineers," Stone told reporters last week.

"It enables, through the use of electronic speed limit signs, the adjustment up or down of the speed limit so that that speed limit is ideal for the conditions that exist at that time."

Aside from speed limits, the review also looked at winter tire usage, wildlife collisions and "keep right except to pass" zones.

Under changes to the Motor Vehicle Act, mud and snow and mountain/snowflake tires are now defined as winter tires.

Other changes include clearer signage — including the use of flashing LED warning signs — in areas where wildlife collisions occur most, and giving police better tools to enforce the requirement for slower vehicles to keep right.