After years of public pressure to place protected left-turn signals at three dangerous intersections on the Trans-Canada Highway in the Cowichan Valley, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure completed the work last week.
The ministry announced in August that it would move forward with the installation of north and south-bound protected left-turn signals at the Kilmalu Road, Hutchinson Road and Fisher Road intersections with the TCH which have seen many accidents over the years, with several resulting in fatalities.
As of August, there had been at least eight accidents at the three intersections in the previous year alone, and there had been two fatalities since 2021.
Mike Wilson, the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s director for Cobble Hill, along with Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau, had been advocating for the installation of the left-turn signals at the intersections for some time, and Wilson said he’s pleased that MoTI finally took action.
“This change at the intersections had to be made and it’s great to see it finally getting done,” he said.
“I’ve been working at this for three years now and I appreciate that the ministry does what it can in theses cases, but MoTI usually determines if such moves are warranted by the accidents that actually happen at these intersections, but don’t see the many near misses that have been taking place over the years.”
Wilson said he believes that what finally prompted MoTI into placing the left-turn signals was a petition started by Cobble Hill resident Chris Lumley after a fatal accident on July 26 at the Hutchinson Road intersection. That petition garnered almost 3,000 signatures in less than a week.
But he said unfortunately, in the little time that the left-turn signals have been installed, there are still motorists who insist on going against red lights at the intersections.
“I guess some don’t realize that new lights have been installed yet, or they are just seeing a clear path and decide to go for it,” Wilson said.
“Oncoming traffic on the TCH comes on very fast and the way those intersections have been engineered, drivers coming onto the highway can’t get a good view. I’m just glad that the ministry decided to move forward and put those left-hand lights in place.”
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