EDITORIAL – Comprehensive plan is needed to stop Yellowhead carnage

(Image: CFJC)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THERE ARE MANY IDEAS on how to fix the Yellowhead Highway. A couple of recent tragedies in the area south of Barriere have renewed the debate.

Lower speed limits, cracking down on bad drivers, more training for truckers, adding lanes and straightening the highway are the usual solutions we look to when we debate the Yellowhead.

The part of the highway from Kamloops to Barriere and north has been the scene of crashes — many fatal — for a long time. A lot of them involve collisions but there are a lot of single-vehicle accidents as well. Often, they involve transport trucks but not always.

They aren’t always on the worst part of the road either. For example, four people were hospitalized in the winter of 2016 after a head-on collision between an SUV and a small car near Rayleigh. Two years before that, one person was killed and four others hospitalized when two pickups smashed into each other in the same general area, in summer weather.

In the past several years there have been, not several, not dozens but hundreds of crashes between Kamloops and Heffley Creek alone, and that’s not the most dangerous zone. The stretch between McLure and Barriere requires extreme caution.

I once proposed that the Yellowhead be made the top priority in developing the international Vision Zero standard. That standard aims at improving road safety to a level that reduces the impact of inevitable driver error.

Nowadays, such an ambition sounds like nothing more than a pipe dream considering the ongoing carnage on the Yellowhead.

From time to time, improvements are made, such as the work done a few years ago north of Barriere and a new passing lane at Vinsulla.

But one thing is certain. There’s no obvious comprehensive plan, deadlines or firm budget for that highway.

All the possible fixes have to be brought together and put into a clear strategy. Why that isn’t happening is a question for the politicians.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, alternate TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9489 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – Comprehensive plan is needed to stop Yellowhead carnage

  1. The laws of physics always hold the trump card.

  2. For the time being heightened enforcement of road laws and commercial vehicles inspections should be prioritized. Anyone using that dreaded road in the last few days has noticed just that.
    But that Vision Zero standard should be aimed for…for sure, including in the City BTW.

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