Princeton’s deadly backyard

Despite improvements Highway 3 from Hope to Princeton is one of the most dangerous highways in BC

They call it Highway Thru Hell for many reasons.

Princeton Highway Rescue Chief Doug Pateman has seen just about all of them.

Last week ICBC released a new report naming Highway 3 between Princeton and Hope as one of the ten deadliest roads in British Columbia with 24 fatal crashes between 2004 and 2013.

Pateman estimates approximately 85 per cent of all calls for Princeton Highway Rescue originate on Highway 3, west of town.

“We are dealing with the worst,” said Pateman, in an interview with the Spotlight. We are dealing with the worse road conditions, we are dealing with the worst scenarios and we are dealing with the worst levels of stress, at least in my mind.”

Pateman said there is an irony to Highway 3’s deadly reputation.

“Overall it’s a beautiful stretch of road,” he said, explaining that can give drivers “a false send of security, absolutely…You have a wide three and four lane highway, passing lanes and then all of a sudden they end and you come to a hair pin corner. Anywhere else in the province that’s unheard of.”

Improvements to Highway 3, made under the high risk corridor program by ICBC, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the RCMP, reduced the number of fatal crashes between Princeton and Hope by almost 50 per cent during the new study period. Eleven people were killed on the road between 2008 to 2012, compared with 20 people killed between 2003 and 2007.

Some of those improvements included the installation of   LED chevrons and curve warning flashing lights, centre line rumble strips, line painting and higher reflective signs.

According to Pateman driver error will always been the main causes of collisions on Highway.

“When a signs says ‘Slow to 50’ on any other highway you can probably do 10 over and it’s a nice comfortable corner. From Hope to Princeton if it says slow to 50 you’d better slow to 50.”

It’s also crucial, he said, to adjust to weather conditions. “If it’s wet, drive like it’s slippery, if it’s slippery, drive like it’s icy and if it’s icy stay home.”

With 24 years on the rescue squad Pateman has attended many horrific scenes, some involving local families. “I’m not going to talk about it…I have done calls that if you are lucky you only see on television.”

That is a genuine possibility, as the Hope-Princeton road is one of the featured locations for Discovery Chanel’s popular reality series Highway Through Hell, which is currently filming its fourth season.

Pateman also sits on Princeton town council, and said the proximity of the deadly road has a unique effect on the town. “You know what, it’s not great publicity but because people have seen it on TV, everybody wants to drive the Highway Thru Hell.”

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read