By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: August 6, 2018
Six months after the accident that killed two and injured five other locals, the Ministry of Transportation says it’s not feasible to install concrete media barriers on that accident-prone stretch of the Highway 99.
Started by Squamish teen Gagan Chaggar, a petition demanding those concrete barriers along Highway 99 near the Alice Lake road was signed by close to 5,000 people.
The accident happened around 7:30 pm near Cheekeye River Bridge when a minivan carrying locals from Squamish were coming back from Whistler was struck head on by a pick-up truck.
Two people were killed on the spot and five others were injured, with one of them requiring life long support. All seven belonged to the close-knit Indo-Canadian community.
A spokesperson for the Ministry said the media barriers won’t be feasible for the location.
“The ministry does not plan to build median barriers along this particular stretch of the Sea to Sky because the highway would need to be widened by approximately three metres for there to be enough room to accommodate the barrier,” said Danielle Pope, media relations for the ministry.
However, Pope said the ministry is making some safety enhancements along this stretch. The worn off centre and lane lines have been repainted, and the fog lines will be completed by the fall.
“We acknowledge the tragedy of the crash that occurred earlier this year on this section of highway, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims,” she said.
Pope said safety was the primary reason for $600 million in improvements to Highway 99 that were completed in 2009.
After the Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project was completed, the number of collisions declined significantly. We have seen a 23 per cent drop in serious collisions since the improvements were made, she added.
In 2016, the ministry introduced variable speed signs to improve driver safety during bad weather conditions and to reduce serious crashes on the Sea to Sky Highway.
The ministry, Pope said, has invested more than $1.1 million in improvements to the Sea to Sky last year, further boosting safety for drivers and cyclists.
These improvements included:
1.4 km of median barrier between Lions Bay Avenue and Brunswick Beach Road,
1 km of shoulder widening at Britannia Hill,
Flashing warning light at Mamquam Forest Service Road, and
Shoulder stabilization at Nairn Falls Hill.
Pope said the province monitors the safety of provincial roads and highways and prioritize improvements based on these regular assessments to determine what is the most appropriate treatment.