College of New Caledonia | Kyle Balzer, My PG Now

If you’ve been driving along Highway 97 near the College of New Caledonia’s (CNC) campus in Prince George, you might have noticed some fencing in the area.

The change was put in place in collaboration with the Ministry of Transportation and the City of Prince George following the death of an international student this past spring.

“That section of the highway was certainly an area where there was a risk to student safety, we are thrilled to see improvements have been made on that section of the highway,” said Alyson Gourlay-Cramer, CNC Spokesperson.

While the move was given royal assent by the ministry, CNC was kept in close contact through the entire process.

“We were certainly part of that discussion and collaborated with them on that section of the highway so, it’s one of a few projects that are going to help bring awareness and infrastructure changes to bring awareness and increase safety around the Prince George campus.”

Fences put up in the middle of Highway 97, encouraging CNC students to use nearby crosswalks | Brendan Pawliw, My PG Now

Gourlay-Cramer says they will be incorporating more safety-related programming in the coming months.

“We’ve also worked with ICBC and the RCMP along with the international students in an upcoming series of road safety videos that we’re really excited about and are coming out in November.”

On top of that, the college will continue to preach the importance of safety in the area to both students and staff.

“CNC has committed to creating an awareness and education campaign specifically for international students and staff to highlight what safety features are available and we really made a strong emphasis at our orientation this fall.”

BC’s transportation ministry has provided the following statement on the new fence:

“Through our partnership with the College of New Caledonia and the City of Prince George, we were alerted to concerns about pedestrian safety in this area. Ministry staff collaborated with the City and the College to review this section of highway and looked for solutions to make it safer.”

“In a combined effort to increase safety, works have been undertaken to guide pedestrians to the intersection at 22nd to cross the highway. The ministry has installed this permanent pedestrian fence, which cost approximately $75,000, to safely separate pedestrians from traffic.”

“In addition, upcoming improvements will be made to the 22nd intersection signals. It is not anticipated that an overpass/underpass will be constructed.”