Protected left-turn traffic signals are in the works for a trio of accident-prone intersections along the Trans-Canada Highway on Vancouver Island, according to B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI).
In an emailed statement to CHEK News, the MOTI said its staff initiated an engineering review at the intersections of Kilmalu Road in Mill Bay, and Fisher and Hutchinson roads, both in Cobble Hill, back in March.
“The review is complete and ministry engineers have recommended moving forward with design work for the installation of north and south bound protected left-turn signals at Kilmalu Road, Hutchinson Road and Fisher Road,” the ministry said.
The statement came days after a fatal collision between a dump truck and a pickup truck last Tuesday, July 26, along the TCH in Cobble Hill.
Shawnigan Lake RCMP said an early investigation indicated that the dump truck, which was heading south, collided with the pickup truck as it was turning across the southbound lane onto Hutchinson Road.
The 74-year-old driver of the pickup truck was killed in the crash, while the dump truck driver was sent to hospital with undisclosed injuries, RCMP told CHEK News.
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the accident,” the MOTI said. “The safety of people on our highways is our top priority.”
A Change.org petition calling for protected left-hand turns at the three intersections launched following the crash and garnered more than 1,000 signatures in just one day.
“For too long and for too often these intersections have become dangerous — whether it be by bad judgment or caused by more people using these roads every day, we can no longer sit quietly about the accidents that are becoming more and more frequent in our community,” wrote Chris Lumley, the petition’s organizer.
The MOTI has been working on left-turn signals “for what seems like years now,” according to Lumley.
“People have reached out constantly about it, [Cowichan Valley] MLA Sonia Furstenau has reached out about it, and still, nothing has been done.”
Lumley noted that there’s been at least two deaths and as many shutdowns at the intersections since last October, and personally recalls six near misses at left turns in the past year due to drivers running the light.
“This petition is to show them that this idea and change have the [community’s] support… and that we want to see this sooner rather than later to prevent more death,” he added.
The MOTI said an update on timelines for protected left-turn traffic signal upgrades on the TCH is expected later this year following the completion of designs.