Hwy. 101 speed reduction referred back to Mounties

John Gleeson/Staff Writer / Staff writer
November 9, 2012 01:00 AM

The intersection of Flume Road and Highway 101 had the highest number of crashes along the 80 km/h stretch of highway above Roberts Creek between 2007 and 2011, based on accident claims. The RCMP raised the idea of reviewing the 80 km/h speed limit along portions of the highway to bring down the number of serious collisions.

Any move to drop the speed limit on Highway 101 above Roberts Creek should start with an RCMP recommendation, Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors agreed Nov. 1.

The idea of reducing the speed limit from 80 km/h to 60 km/h between Flume Road and Lower Road had been referred from the Sept. 10 transportation advisory committee meeting. But that discussion, Gibsons director Gerry Tretick told the infrastructure services committee on Nov. 1, seemed "rather vague" to him.

"I really had a hard time figuring out exactly what people were trying to suggest," Tretick said. "It was such a general discussion that I came away shaking my head, because it sounded like it was basically a 60 km speed limit [being proposed] for the whole highway."

If that's the intention, Tretick said, it won't work.

"You're going to have people breaking the speed limit all the time and they'll get totally frustrated and the accident rates will go up," he said.

Roberts Creek director Donna Shugar said the recommendation to look at the issue came from Const. Todd Bozak of Sunshine Coast Traffic Services, who had flagged that portion of Highway 101 as a high crash zone.

The advisory committee also discussed the need to undertake extensive public consultation, as "strong reactions on both sides" would be expected, Shugar said.

"But it isn't our decision," she said. "It's the Ministry of Transportation's decision. We can only recommend."

And before doing that, directors "would need more information about what the RCMP are recommending."

The committee went with Tretick's proposal to refer the item back to the RCMP and copy the letter to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). If the RCMP decide it's worth pursuing, they can provide details and the SCRD will consider it then, Tretick said.

Halfmoon Bay director Garry Nohr said he had no qualms about looking into it, but added: "This should not be our issue. We could ask MOTI to handle the discussion on this, because it's not ours to control. They have to do the controlling."

Based on the number of claims filed, ICBC reported a total of 20 crashes at Flume Road and Highway 101 between 2007 and 2011, with 12 of them resulting in injury or death.

Next highest with 12 crashes each during the same period were the intersections of the highway with Roberts Creek Road and Joe Road, with about half resulting in injury or death.

The Conrad Road intersection was next highest with five crashes, all resulting in injury or death.

By comparison, on Highway 101 in Halfmoon Bay during the same period there were 13 crashes at the intersection of Redrooffs Road, four of them involving injury or death, and 11 crashes at the Trout Lake Road intersection, six of them involving injury or death.

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