NEWS

Sea-to-Sky collisions prompt calls for more barriers

12/30/2014 06:03 EST | Updated 03/01/2015 05:59 EST
Recent accidents on the B.C.'s Sea-to-Sky Highway connecting Vancouver with Squamish and Whistler have prompted a West Vancouver man to demand more concrete barriers.

David Tompkins said he has written to the province's Transportation Minster Todd Stone and started an online petition hoping the provincial government will take action.

The highway, which snakes along the mountain walls of Howe Sound, was once nicknamed the highway of death, because of the numerous rock slides and head-on collisions along its twisting route.

Then in the lead-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics, B.C. spent $600 million to widen and straighten large sections of the route.

But that hasn't made the Sea-to-Sky accident proof. In November 2013, two UBC students were killed in a head-on crash five kilometres north of Lions Bay, just one of several fatal collisions since it was rebuilt.

Closed once again

This past weekend, the highway was closed again when a southbound car crossed the centre median and collided with a northbound truck, north of Lions Bay. The driver of the car was airlifted to Vancouver General Hospital with head injuries. A second patient was also transported to hospital with less serious injuries.

Tompkins said what is needed is more concrete barriers separating oncoming traffic. He is particularly concerned about one section where small trees on a median separate traffic passing through Lions Bay.

"They have to sacrifice some aesthetics with the nice trees and shrubs and place concrete barriers along the entire section of that Lions Bay Highway," said Tompkins.

The Mayor of Lions Bay Karl Buhr said too many motorists exceed the speed limit.

"Other people are whipping through here way too fast," said Buhr.

The Ministry of Transportation told CBC News it doesn't have any work planned in the Lions Bay area for now.

"The barriers, along with all of the other highway safety enhancements, have proven effective and this is reflected in the lower crash rates occurring on the highway since 2010," the ministry said in an emailed statement. 

"However, in light of the recent vehicle incident, the ministry is working with the police to better understand the underlying causes of this most recent crash and to determine whether additional safety measures may be needed at this location."
 

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