Kelowna resident Ellie, is “elated” by the government’s decision to make improvement to a deadly city intersection.
“I feel as though I might have saved one neighbour with my advocacy for a traffic change and, well, that would be worth it,” says Ellie.
Announced August 23, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure agreed to begin improvements and change traffic patterns at the contentious Highway 97 and Grizzly Road intersection to reduce the risk of crashes.
Ellie, who was seven months pregnant at the time, was almost killed, lost her baby and sustained a brain injury when her vehicle was hit at that intersection in 2011.
She spent just over 18 months at CONNECT Communities in Lake Country before transitioning home. Her brain injury rehabilitation over that time was astounding. Doctors told her she would likely never walk, yet she walked through the doors of CONNECT when she moved out.
Ellie now attends Okanagan College and has aspirations to continue advocating for brain injury awareness.
The highway improvement to the deadly intersection where Ellie was injured will involve building raised concrete medians to channel and protect vehicles at the intersection, as well as improved lighting and drainage.
Once the project is complete vehicles will be unable to turn left from Grizzly onto Highway 97 or travel directly across the highway.
Traffic will be allowed to make right and left turns onto Grizzly Road from Highway 97 and make right turns from Grizzly onto the highway.
“That is awesome news,” says West Kelowna Mayor, Doug Findlater.
“I’ve been advocating that for about two or three years – ever since the young lady who was pregnant was very badly injured and lost her baby. There have been other incidents but that’s when it really came home.”
The improvements are slated for completion this fall.
Ellie added that her goal now is to help spread the message that people with brain injuries have surprising insights and potential.
“I would like to see awareness countrywide. Maybe a topic taught in health class at schools.”(With files from HQkelowna.com and www.castanet.net)
To read more about the planned highway improvements, visit http://bit.ly/17HAGkw