By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Aug. 17, 2013
Be extra cautious next time you approach the intersection of Cleveland Ave and Highway 99: It’s been the most dangerous collision spot in the last five years.
There were 162 accidents at the intersection of Cleveland and Highway 99 in the last five years, information gleaned from ICBC documents reveal.
Of these, 62 were reported as causalities, either injury or fatality.
Interesting enough, the completion of a brand new highway seems to have made little impact on accidents.
In 2008, for example, there were 152 crashes reported on Highway 99 for Squamish; in 2012, the number stands at 157.
Kate Trotter, media relations person for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), said safety is the ministry’s top priority, adding that highways in the province are monitored continuously.
“This work can include adding or reconfiguring signs, adding to the traffic webcam network or installing barriers to deter unsafe pedestrian crossings,” she said.
Routine maintenance such as maintaining smooth pavement, clearing debris troughs and line-painting also contributes to the safety of the travelling public, she added.
Trotter noted some of the recent safety improvement projects on Highway 99.
• Catch basin painting on Highway 99
• Enhanced signage for cycling and animals on highway
• Area-specific shoulder widening (i.e Murrin Park)
• Pedestrian island improvements in Squamish
• New rock fall and ice fencings at specific locations
• Rock bolting/ rock scaling
• Horizontal delineators at Porteau Cove
• Enhanced toxic invasive species control
For all the safety measures, Nathalie Boisvert doesn’t feel safe while crossing the intersection of Cleveland and Highway.99.
“I don’t feel particularly safe, especially when crossing on the north-west side (McDonalds),” Boisvert said.
“Cars come off the highway too quickly. I am especially concerned for the little ones crossing there,” she added.
In September, she will be walking or cycling with her son for work, and crossing the Highway into town from Valleycliffe will make her anxious.
She has another option, but it isn’t that safe either.
The other option is to go under the bridge and through one of the private lots to get in behind Nesters to reach Cleveland and Buckley.
“That is just as dangerous as cars driving southbound on Buckley trying to turn left onto Cleveland have to watch out for oncoming cars, and often don’t see pedestrians until they are in the middle of the intersection,” she said.
She said an overpass would be the safest route for all pedestrians, especially school aged children.
Other unsafe spots in the district: Highway 99 and Mamquam Road (64), Depot Road and Highway 99 (56), Garibaldi Way and Highway 99 (56 incidents) Buckley Avenue and Cleveland Avenue (35) are some other hot spots.
The average collision costs are $4.17 million per fatality, $97,000 per injury and $6,000 per property damage incident, according to ICBC.