Keeping it Local – Community Input Leads to Lines and Signs

Lines and signs have been popping up on B.C. highways recently, as a result of local organizations and people who see ways to enhance safety in their communities.

B.C.’s most northerly webcam was requested by Dease Lake residents.

Community leaders, including local governments, school districts, community groups, First Nations, RCMP, MLAs and individuals, regularly bring their ideas to folks at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s district offices. Their requests over the last year have resulted in about 30 new improvements designed to clearly communicate the rules (and borders) of the road, guide drivers to safe passage and light the way. Other safety enhancement projects initiated by communities are meant to smooth traffic flow, and make roads easier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Lines Alert Drivers

Some new lines that show the way to safety will be made from an extra luminous and hard-wearing plastic known as mixed methyl methacrylate. Residents of Chilliwack and Abbotsford have been concerned about weather conditions that lowered road visibility, but now these lines will shine along Highway 1, from 264th Street to Highway 9.

On Highway 4, between Ucluelet and Port Alberni, brightened road lines will improve visibility during bad weather, and from Port Alberni to Qualicum, new rumble strips will warn drivers who stray too near the centre line. Crosswalks are being painted on Gabriola Island, with local groups providing input on the location of the markings. Around Parksville, at the intersection of Plummer Road and Highway 19A, turn arrows are being marked on the pavement and the intersection is being widened. Barriers along Highway 3 between Sparwood and Alberta will be brightened with about 600 reflectors, and reflective posts along Columbia Valley Road in the Fraser Valley will outline the road’s edge for motorists.

Signs and Signals Guide the Way

On the advice of communities, we’ve added or improved signs and signals to advise motorists of what lies ahead. For example, the signs indicate if there is congestion on Highway 17 near Sayward Road, the hairpin turn on Highway 97 at Vaseaux, and what lanes NOT to turn into at five intersections entering onto a 95-kilometre stretch of Highway 19. LED chevrons (lighted arrows), signs that warn speeding drivers to slow down and highly reflective signage are being installed on Manning Park’s Rhododendron Flats, to alert drivers to road conditions and upcoming curves – the result of discussions with the RCMP and ICBC. The project includes a shortened westbound passing lane to allow passing vehicles more time to slow down, before they reach the upcoming curve.

We also placed extra signs along Head Bay Forest Service Road to guide drivers from Gold River to Tahsis, and installed or improved signs at Langley, Tahsis, Grand Forks, and Surrey.

Speed reader boards are another kind of sign that has been cropping up to alert drivers of where their speed might differ from the limit posted. We’re using these boards to reduce speeding through cities, towns and villages and to increase the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. Some are mounted on trailers, like one that will be moved between Clearwater and Barriere, and the two portable boards that will be stationed around Fernie. Others are being installed permanently, like the two within the community of Port Edward, and single signs posted in Prince Rupert, Burns Lake, Houston,Telkwa, McBride, Fort Fraser and Hazelton.

A Shared View to Safety

Lots of locals like luminaires for lighting. For instance, the Lytton First Nation requested that “cobra head” lights be installed at the intersection of Highway 12 and St. George’s Road, which leads to the Stein Valley Nlakapamux School. This makes the turnoff safer for students, teachers, bus drivers and parents, and for motorists travelling straight along the highway. Luminaires are also being installed at key locations in Fort Nelson, Rolla and Groundbirch at the request of those communities.

Before: Turn-off to Stein Valley Nlakapamux School.
After: Luminaires light the school turn-off on Highway 12.

Last, but not least, we’re providing an advance view of road conditions, with our most northerly webcam at Highway 37 at the Yukon border. And, at the request of the Nisga’a Lisims Government, a webcam on Highway 113 will be re-positioned to the top of Grizzly Hill west of Laxg_alts’ap, to complement a webcam installed recently at Gitwinksihlkw.

Whether we’re contacted by school districts or cycling clubs, municipalities or MLAs, we value the ideas and input that communities give us. Together, we share the goals of safety, mobility and economic growth. New lines, signs and other improvements can help get everyone safe and sound (and more happily) to our destinations.

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