Editor, The Times:
Re: “Roundabout needs better signs” in Sept. 12 issue
I would like to thank the writer for highlighting a safety issue with the traffic management on the project. Since the inception of the traffic plan that brought us through August, we have watched with concern as vehicles have entered Clearwater Valley Road in the opposing lane. Many of the vehicles are entering the wrong lane simply because the lane is extraordinarily wide and it appears to be two lanes. Vehicles looking to turn left on Clearwater Valley Road would see the wide lane and, if they did not move far enough ahead to see the chevron signs, could easily mistake the lane as two. We had considered narrowing the lane, but because large trucks need to make left turns out of the lane, it needed to stay the width that it is.
The left turn arrows on the pavement are used to indicate the type of lane and not the location of the turning apex. But I agree with you, motorists who saw the arrow were likely confused by its placement. Changing the location of the arrow seems like an easy fix, and in hindsight, the arrow would certainly have been better placed further east. However we need to perform hazard analyses on each change we make on the project. An earlier hazard analysis indicated that while motorists were entering the road in the wrong lane, they were doing so when no vehicles were present and at a very low rate if speed. The risk of a collision was very low and the probable severity would also be low.
To place a worker on the highway to change the arrow and a traffic control person to escort, would actually place those individuals in considerably higher risk. The likelihood of an accident would have been far higher and the severity of injury would easily be fatal.
That being said, you also highlighted an issue that we had not considered and had not witnessed, and that is vehicles trying to back up on to the highway. That would present a significant and unacceptable risk. It was further deemed that the left arrow had to be removed at a later point and that workers would have to be exposed to that risk at some point. We decided to remove the arrow sooner than later.
Our traffic plans are engineered many weeks in advance and require a lengthy review process. The review process is necessary, but it also means that making changes (even small changes) to the traffic pattern are not done quickly. We certainly appreciate the patience of everyone thus far and are grateful for your feedback.
We have posted a site safety number at the construction limits and encourage people who have concerns to make use of that number. The site safety number is 250-674-2160. You are also invited to make comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Quigley, project manager
Borrow Enterprises Ltd.