Dangerous Intersection on Site B Needs Safety Plan

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: April 28, 2016
WORKING on Site B has made Dave Callie a patient truck driver. On a busy day, Dave and other truck drivers working on Site B wait several minutes just to enter the site from the Highway.
 For one, the centre median on the bridge is so high it makes it extremely difficult for truckers to see the vehicles going south as they are trying to take a left turn to Site B.
 And it’s no less a challenge for those vehicles. The high elevation of the bridge gives them a restricted sightline, which means they would see a truck when it’s really close. There is nothing to warn them of an approaching industrial intersection. They are usually clocking over 80 km/h.
 “It’s quite dangerous and you really have to wait for a long period of time, sometimes 10 minutes, to find that break in traffic when you can turn left on to the site,” says Greg, who has operated his business, Yardworks Contracting, out of Site B for over a year.
 Alan Barr has faced that issue for much longer. The owner of West-Barr Contracting has a long-term lease at Site B, with company vehicles and logging trucks accessing the site every day. “It’s really hard to get out of here and it’s really hard to get in the site. There hasn’t been an accident so far but there might be unless something is done about it,” he says.
 If turning left to enter the site going north is a risky, it’s not easy to exit the site going south. Trucks have to slowly pull out until they are visible to the cars driving south. With lack of a deceleration lane, they have the right lane to merge into a traffic that is fast and has just discovered them coming up on the hill.
 When the trucks are turning north, they have to watch out for both south and north drivers as they try to merge into traffic going to Whistler.
 What makes the situation even worse is visitors to Gondola making a U-turn at this intersection to drive back to Vancouver. 
 Alan says the council should involve the Squamish Nation leadership and sit down with the province to find solutions for this dangerous intersection. He says the province could add an extra curb lane northbound as can be found on Shell gas station. They can also alleviate the problem by adding a south-bound deaccelerating lane for trucks and vehicles trying to exit Site B going south. An on-demand traffic light can also be installed along with traffic-calming signals such as a reduced speed limit board close to the intersection. “You have a sign saying 60 km/h up the highway from the intersection but almost all of them are going over 80 km/hour,” he says. 
 There have been several industrial safety committees that have raised the issue of the unsafe Highway 99/Site B intersection and the truck traffic will increase quite significantly on the intersection, says John Lowe.
 In a letter he wrote to the district, John highlighted the traffic issues on the intersection and urged the council to treat the intersection on a priority basis. Lowe says installing a northbound protected lane for trucks re-entering the highway from Site B can alleviate some of the risks posed by traffic.
“Shortening of the southbound right turn deceleration lane into Site B, which begins on the Stawamus River bridge, and relocating sidewalks to the outside of the bridge structure could provide adequate bridge width to accommodate the needed northbound protected lane,” John says. The truck traffic is going to increase in the future with relocation of additional log-handling activities to Site B and something must be done to create solutions that can benefit all, he says.



  1. Dave Colwell says:

    All intersections in the Squamish area need reviewing….This and particularly the main intersection at McDonald’s.
    Like a broken record: The latter needs a roundabout or overpass, but Highways will not listen.