The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is looking at safety improvements for the intersection of River Road and the Trans Canada Highway in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is looking at safety improvements for the intersection of River Road and the Trans Canada Highway in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Traffic lights might not be best solution

Solving safety issue for River Road intersection with the TCH not easy

It’ll be interesting to see what determinations are made by the Provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for safety improvements at the intersection of River Road and the Trans Canada Highway in Chemainus.

It might be time to find a creative solution, rather than simply install a traffic light at the intersection which seems the most likely conclusion.

Most everyone agrees something has to be done to make the intersection safer. There are numerous accidents there every year, most resulting from traffic trying to get across four lanes of highway from River Road to Chemainus Lake. Left-hand turns from the highway onto River Road in either direction are also a problem.

Engineering and design plans are currently being undertaken and let’s hope the ministry considers some alternatives, budget dependent, of course.

According to a ministry statement, “the current designs consider improvements to laning and potential signalization of the intersection. Potential signalization of the intersection and its timeline will be decided once the design is completed.”

Related story: Improvements coming for River Road intersection

As much as a traffic light will take away some of the danger, it could also create another set of circumstances that will just result in the same number of accidents.

The problem with traffic lights, naturally, is the bad behaviour of drivers. If everyone just followed the signals there wouldn’t be any issues, but we all know that’s not going to happen.

In fact, all you have to do is look down the road within our jurisdiction to the Henry Road and Mount Sicker Road intersections. Are they safer because of traffic lights?

In some ways, yes. But in terms of reducing accidents, no. Drivers speed through amber lights and even red lights while other people are trying to turn, with dire consequences.

Overpasses certainly aren’t going to happen due to the cost but are the obvious choice to keep traffic moving and reduce risks.

No other options are likely to make a difference. It just seems another traffic light on the Island Highway isn’t going to be for the better with so much traffic and impatient drivers on the road.

infrastructureTransportation