Suggesting how to improve highway safety

In general, I am opposed to speed increases on any highway now posted at 100 km/hr or greater

Editor, The Times:

It is with great interest, and quite a large dressing of misgiving, that I try to digest the implications of Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone’s proposal to increase highway speed limits. The foundation of my information on the Minister’s proposal can be based on Jeff Nagel’s article on this highway topic, printed in the Oct. 10, 2013 Clearwater Times, page A9.

In general, I am opposed to speed increases on any highway now posted at 100 km/hr or greater. It is common knowledge, and Stone admits to this himself, that drivers “routinely” drive approximately eight km/hr above the posted limit. If the Coquihalla, for instance, were bumped up to 120 km/hr, and much of the traffic moved along at 130 km/hr, then an enforcement vehicle attempting to apprehend another motorist might have to increase to 140 km/hr or more.

While the design of a highway may provide a small margin of safety at faster speeds, the surface condition very often does not. There are bumps, pot-holes, cracks and weather-related conditions that are not choosy as to where they may be hiding.

In the Nagel article mentioned, the journalist refers to Ian Tootill of Sense BC and that individual’s views of highway speeds. Tootill is not suggesting “… 150 or 160 but it shouldn’t be 120” (on the Coquihalla). With a statement like that the man obviously would prefer something like 130 km/hr, which would require those apprehending officers, and probably the ambulance drivers, to race to someone’s demise at 150 or 160.

Switching to a Clearwater, Highway 5 issue that I hope comes to the attention of Minister Todd Stone. I refer to the intersection of Highway 5 and Candle Creek Road, about two kilometres east of Kal Tire. Candle Creek is a secondary road leading both north and south from the highway. East-bound traffic enters a 100 km/hr zone approximately one kilometre prior to the intersection.

There is no left turn lane. At certain times of the day there are many motorists wanting to turn left (north) and they must stop for oncoming traffic.

 

A mix of large trucks and smaller rigs is approaching from behind at 100+ and it is not uncommon for a vehicle to be on the south side, crowding the shoulder-line in an attempt to cross the highway. Those left-turners are sitting ducks, sandwiched between fast moving vehicles, some often trying to pass on the right side.

An immediate improvement would be to extend the 80 kph zone eastward to include this intersection. A better solution would be a left-turn lane. We are talking safety and preservation of lives now, before there is a serious accident.

Lloyd Jeck

 

Clearwater, B.C.

 

 

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