It’s one of the 10 most dangerous intersections in the North Central Region of B-C. Where Cowart and Vance Road meet Highway 16, has seen its fair share of collisions.
Now, a 500 thousand dollar project put forth by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is changing the traffic light system in an effort to improve safety. For Thomas Cosh, he knows all too well the devastating impact of a car crash. “There was an accident that I was personally affected by,” he said.
After a fatal collision earlier this year, when a car turned left at the intersection of Cowart Road and Vance Road along Highway 16, Cosh started a petition. The 18 year old managed to get more than 8,000 signatures for a separate, protected left-turn signal. His vision is now a reality. “We’ve seen a lot of accidents here and left-turning is always dangerous, you feel pressured from the drivers behind you to make a left-turn when you might not have time,” Cosh said. “Usually you can’t see when there’s on-coming also trying to turn left so it creates this dangerous blind-spot.”
More than 22,000 cars pass through the Highway 16 corridor on a daily basis. The RCMP says Cowart and Vance Road is just one of 10 intersections in the city contributing to one fifth of the total collisions and casualties in 2013. Sgt. Matt LaBelle with Prince George City Traffic, says the RCMP are targeting those top 10 intersections. “Part of that is to look at the five factors that are causing those collisions or are causing injury and death at those collisions, those being speeding, seat-belt use, intersection elated violations, impaired driving and distracted driving.”
The advance turn signal on Cowart and Vance Road is just the latest safety adjustment. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure looks to do the same this fall for the lights on Ferry Avenue at Highway 16.
Meanwhile, the City of Prince George is looking at its own initiatives. The intersection of Ferry Avenue and Ospika Boulevard is another hot spot for collisions. A plan for traffic lights is now in place says General Manager of Engineering and Public Works, Dave Dyer. “People have a difficulty getting a left turn from Ferry on to Ospika going up Peden Hill and that project is underway and we have it nearing completion of design.”
Those lights are set to be installed in the new year at a cost of up to $200,000.