Dear Editor:

As vacation property owners in Radium Hot Springs, we always look forward to the beautiful drive through Kootenay National Park, but with the current travel restrictions, while understandably needed, has put us on hold temporarily.

A couple of Tuesdays ago, my wife and myself took a mid-day drive to Castle Mountain Junction to enjoy some mountain scenery but also to make a couple of observations. We wanted to see how many Alberta plated vehicles were Columbia Valley bound, ignoring Government health regulations, and also, with the present and ongoing Trans Canada highway upgrading, we wanted to measure the volume of heavy truck traffic travelling Highway 93. We were parked in the pull-off area just over the bridge focussing only on southbound traffic. In just a few minutes over one hour, we counted: 43 Alberta Vehicles, 100 Semi Trucks and four other Heavy Commercial Trucks.

The volume of heavy commercial traffic utilizing Highway 93 (and also the not so challenging Highway 95 portion of the detour) does present some major traffic concerns. Some drivers could be lacking sufficient two-lane mountain highway driving experience. Not only do you have heavy vehicle traffic, maybe trying to make up lost time travelling the same direction as yourself, you also have a similar volume of traffic coming towards you -sometimes on not so friendly curves.

We have all observed smaller vehicles with impatient drivers trying to pass slower vehicles when unsafe to do so. An example of this was the recent two-vehicle collision at the Kootenay Valley Lookout. Thankfully nobody was injured. Response times to any emergency in the Kootenay National Park are long, even with the Radium Fire Department extending its services. The addition of two Parks Canada Emergency Satellite Phones is greatly welcomed, but both should have been installed prior to the start of the detour.

The RCMP has to increase their presence in both marked and unmarked vehicles to remind all users of the road to drive safely and always adjust to weather and road conditions. Lives are at stake, aand all levels of Government have to work collectively in every way possible to educate all drivers to make driving this magnificent highway safe for all.

Dave Halliday, Calgary

Editors note: This letter was written prior to the May 8 fatal road accident near Paint Pots on Highway 93.