The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced a second detour to avoid the ongoing Highway 97 closure north of Summerland.
The route allows drivers to connect from the highway to the Trout Creek FSR, which is being plowed and sanded regularly to aid commuters. The narrow, winding road is approximately 90 km and ejects drivers into Summerland to reconnect to Hwy. 97.
Until Feb. 8, drivers were relying solely on the 201 FSR as a way to commute between Penticton and Kelowna. Crews are working steadily to open a Callan Road bypass around the closure to relieve commuters of the current 2-hour to 3-hour long detour both routes provide.
Following testing the new route for themselves, drivers quickly took to Facebook to air their concerns about the Trout Creek FSR. Multiple people suggested new drivers or those not confident driving narrow roads avoid this route, especially as it has severely limited cell service. Unfortunately, this was not a choice for drivers on the evening of Feb. 8 as a vehicle incident on 201 FSR had the detour temporarily unaccessible.
|This Facebook user posted this message about the Trout Creek FSR in the Penticton Facebook page. The post garnered multiple comments suggesting drivers still use the 201 FSR as the route is narrow and winding. Image from Facebook.|
I drove it today, it makes the 201 look like a highway. It (is) much more narrow and has several blind corners that are barely wide enough for 2 cars to pass,” wrote Bobby Peterson, a member of the Penticton Facebook page. “Lots of narrow section with steep dropoffs on one side as well. It was plowed and sanded when I went through.”
“Drove this route today it was not any faster and way more stressful of a drive, would not recommend. The 201 was way better,” wrote Katie Ann, another user in the Facebook page that participated in the discussion.
Penticton Western News staff ventured the new route on the afternoon of Feb. 8 and found the Summerland side to be poorly sanded and slick. Multiple vehicles were forced to take it slower than the posted speed of 50 km/h to avoid incidents.
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