Five people, including two children, were taken to hospital after three cars collided on the Haney Bypass in Maple Ridge on Friday.
The crash occurred near 227th Street just before 9 p.m.
Three vehicles were involved, one hitting both of the other two head-on.
A 27-year-old man from Abbotsford was driving a 1997 Pontiac Sunfire eastbound on the bypass, just east of 227th Street, when it collided head-on with a westbound 2008 Dodge Ram pickup at about 8:45 p.m.
The Sunfire then collided head-on with a westbound 2010 Dodge Charger that had been following the pickup.
Police say the driver of the Sunfire had to be extracted by the Maple Ridge Fire Department, then was taken to hospital by helicopter.
He was listed in serious condition at first, having suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs, facial injuries and broken teeth. His condition has been upgraded as of Saturday, according to Ridge Meadows RCMP.
A total of five people were taken to hospital.
Two children, a seven-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl, who were in the Dodge Charger have been released from hospital.
The crash closed the Haney Bypass for more than four hours to allow the Integrated Collision Analyst Reconstructionist Services to investigate, said RCMP Cpl. Brenda Winpenny.
Charges are being pursued against the driver of the Sunfire, she added.
The collision sparked another debate about the safety of Haney Bypass, which the City of Maple Ridge wants improved by the province.
Last year, on Mother’s Day, a 15-year-girl died in a crash farther west along the bypass, at the Callaghan Avenue intersection.
A 17-year-old Maple Ridge teen was recently charged with dangerous driving causing death in connection with that incident.
The collision claimed the life of 15-year-old passenger Katelynn Kirkland. Her family continues to press for improvements to the bypass.
“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when there is going to be another accident,” said Katelynn’s mom, Shannon Kirkland.
She wants a pressure-sensitive traffic light to be installed at the corner of Callaghan Ave. to allow vehicles to turn left off the bypass.
Farther down, there’s a section without any streetlights.
“It’s a nightmare,” she said.
Her family collected a petition to improve the corner and submitted it to city, but nothing’s happened. The bypass is a provincial road.
Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton gave a tour of the Haney Bypass and Lougheed Highway to Transportation Minister Todd Stone a couple of months ago.
“There are three sections that, in the long-term, we want to get four-laned,” Dalton said of the highway.
Those include the Haney Bypass and the section of highway east of 272nd Street.
But there have been no funding allocations for those projects, he added.
“We’re working hard on getting some four-laning, but there’s nothing definite at all. “But I’m hopeful. There are ongoing discussions,” Dalton said.
Funding for the installation of concrete barriers in the middle of the Lougheed Highway, from 240th to 272nd streets, is to be announced shortly, and Dalton hopes that project can be completed by the end of summer.
Those barriers are already in place from Kanaka Way to 240th Street to prevent head-on collisions.
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing said the Haney Bypass and Lougheed Highway remain an ongoing issue.
He also met Stone and raised the issue a couple of weeks ago, and said a consultant is now studying what improvements are possible for the bypass.
The collision on Friday, while at a different location than Callaghan Ave., is of “great concern to us.”
Bing said a larger sign and lane markers are now in place to help motorists who’ve turned south on to the bypass from the highway so that they can move more easily into the left lane in order to continue south through the Callaghan Ave. intersection.
However, it was found that putting a traffic light at the corner would back up too much traffic on to Lougheed.
According to ICBC stats, more than 2,700 accidents, involving both injury or property damage, 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.