A call for concrete barriers

Mayor, RCMP, petition want dividers along Lougheed Highway

Mission resident Mike Gildersleeve says Lougheed Highway getting busy.

A campaign to install concrete dividers on Lougheed Highway, following a fatal accident a week ago, is gaining momentum.

Cory Wik died following a three-vehicle crash in the 25500-block of Lougheed Hwy.

Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read wants concrete dividers to be extended from 240th to 272nd streets.

“Given that 85 per cent of our population relies on vehicles, and given that our population is growing exponentially, we need our partners in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to come to the table with some money to improve the east-west corridor,” Read said on Facebook.

Ridge Meadows RCMP have added their voice, calling for concrete barriers along the centre line of the highway.

They will send a memo to the transportation ministry, asking that barriers be installed and that lane markings be repainted and cat-eye reflectors be installed on lane markings.

A copy will go to the B.C. Coroner’s Service.

Whether the ministry agrees with the request remains to be seen.

However, in 2011, barriers along Lougheed were installed from 105th Avenue to 240th Street to improve safety, partly by preventing illegal left turns.

Mounties say their eyes are always on Lougheed’s intersections and the open stretches from one end of Maple Ridge to the other.

People can hit 120 km/h (in a 80 km/h zone) on Lougheed from 240th to 272nd streets.

“This is particularly dangerous in rush hour, but we have also seen some terrible crashes in light traffic,” said Sgt. Bruce McCowan, with the Ridge Meadows traffic services unit.

In the last few months, police have seized more than 33 vehicles for speeding more than 40 km/h over the limit. Intersections are the dangerous spots, but there’s also been bad accidents from speeding on open stretches. “Lougheed Highway is the kind of road that can lull drivers into a false sense of security, in their ability to drive too fast.”

He added that if motorists are driving 120 km/h, that’s 33 per cent faster than the speed limit, which cuts reaction time.

People online are also calling for the barriers.

Last week’s accident, which took place just before 9 a.m., in the west-bound lanes in an open section of the highway, involving a SUV, car and pickup truck, has also led to an online campaign for the concrete barriers.

“Lives are being tragically lost and injured due to the amount of traffic heading in both directions without barriers,” says the petition on change.org.

“The barriers need to go in immediately; this loss of life is insane. It compares to the “death mile” we had before the cement barriers were installed in Pitt Meadows along the same Lougheed Highway years ago (after many deaths had occurred).

Mission resident Mike Gildersleeve, who works in Maple Ridge, feels the same way.

“It seems so innocuous because it’s such a big highway,” said Gildersleeve, a former Green party candidate. “People are generally going 100 km/h-plus.”

If not barricades, at least there should be better lane markings and maybe reflectors on lanes to better mark the road during rainy, dark nights.

“What you see fairly regularly is people just blow by you in very rainy conditions.”

Gildersleeve said one particularly bad spot is just west of 287th Street, where the road narrows from four lanes to two and where the road shoulder is more narrow than usual.

“If you make a wrong decision, you’re going over the bank.”

Another risky place is 272nd Street, where the road also goes from four lanes to two lanes.

“It’s another battle there.”

Add in higher traffic volumes and people texting and talking on their cellphones makes it even more dangerous.

According to ICBC stats, more than 2,700 accidents, both injury and property damage only accidents, took place along Lougheed in Maple Ridge between 2009 and 2013.

The Kanaka Way-Haney Bypass intersection was by far the worst, with 396 accidents of all types, both injury, fatal and property damage, occurring there.

The next most dangerous intersection was the awkward corner where Dewdney Trunk Road meets Lougheed in west Maple Ridge.

That location accounted for 371 collisions during that time period.

Lougheed and 203rd Street was the third-most dangerous, with 343 collisions.

The intersection of Lougheed and 207th Street had 232 crashes, while the downhill corner of Lougheed and 240th St. was the fifth-most dangerous, with 213 crashes.

Only 67 collisions took place at the intersection of 105th Avenue and Lougheed, the site of another fatality involving a motorcyclist on Jan. 29.

Concrete barriers were installed in the centre median of Lougheed Highway from Kanaka Way to 240th St. as recently as 2011. One goal of that was to reduce the number of people making illegal left-turns across the road.

Read said on Vancouver TV that she also wants the Haney Bypass widened to four lanes while the major intersection of 222nd Street and Lougheed also needs improvement.


Just Posted

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, vehicle crashes

Happened in early evening, injuries unknown

Court supports Maple Ridge role in tent city

Rejects Pivot application to allow people to return

City video updates Maple Ridge Leisure Centre re-do

Rusty support columns delaying project by a few months

Maple Ridge councillor back at work

Duncan away because of car accident

Seniors conquer the arctic

Pitt Meadows guide led 35-day trek

VIDEO: Wet weather kicks off Lower Mainland toad migration

Thousands of small western toads were making the trek from pond to woods

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

Serious police incident unfolding at Sts’ailes near Agassiz

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

RCMP release sketch of suspect in SFU assault, appeal to witnesses who helped woman

The RCMP want to talk to two women who helped the victim after she got to the parking lot

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read