Last week, conservation group Wildsight called for the closure of the passing lane on One Mile Hill in Radium as four more bighorn sheep were killed in vehicle collisions.
At the same time, Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok (BC Liberal) said he agreed that more had to be done to protect the sheep but he didn’t think closing a passing lane would be the answer.
The Bulletin reached out to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for their take on potentially closing the lane. The followiong is their response.
“We recognize the importance of reducing wildlife conflicts on this route for both motorist safety and conservation of the sheep, and are actively working to best mitigate the issue.
“The Ministry has put up flashing LED Bighorn Sheep warning signs and oversized sheep-specific signs on highways where there are bighorn sheep activity, targeting the Radium Hill. The ministry has also added another changeable message sign to the hill portion to highlight the high sheep activity.
“Overhead message signs provide wildlife messaging to motorists in rotation with other important safety messages. These are located on the Highway 93/95 corridor for northbound traffic.
“Salt stations have been placed a few hundred metres away from the highway to provide bighorn sheep with salt in order to keep them away from the highway.
The Ministry is also evaluating different de-icers for future use; careful consideration must be given to any impacts to the safety of motorists as well.
“The Ministry has connected with community members on this topic through the regional office. We are working with partners, including the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Parks Canada and the Village of Radium Hot Springs, to evaluate further mitigation strategies.
“Removal of the passing lane is not being considered because they can cause secondary safety concerns and the potential for high severity collisions.
“All motorists passing through the area are encouraged to slow down when sheep are present. Even if they appear to be standing in one place, sheep movement can be sudden and this herd is highly conditioned to humans.”