No changes will be coming to the Highway 3B turnoff west of Waneta Plaza – the site of two traffic fatalities in seven years.
The Trail Times reached out to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) last week after a Dec. 6 non-fatal collision at the uncontrolled intersection – a safety review was launched last fall following a July 2016 fatal crash.
The Trail Times heard back from the province via email on Thursday.
The ministry replied, “Collision data from the last 10 years doesn’t show the Old Waneta Road intersection with a high crash frequency, even though it has had two tragic incidents – one in 2011 and the other in 2016.
“Nevertheless, to increase safety at this spot, the ministry has restricted the left out movement from Old Waneta Road and we have stopped the south-north through movements across Highway 3B.”
The ministry said it is cautious about restricting further traffic movements at this location, “as it would cause traffic to be re-directed to other intersections that could impact traffic and safety through private properties.”
MoTI concluded, “We will continue to monitor the results of the changes we have made, to ensure they are working for motorists in the area.”
According to police, the most recent accident happened when a driver making a lefthand turn was hit by another vehicle travelling west toward Trail.
That scenario mirrors the fatal 2016 accident that now stands before the court.
After a year-long investigation, an elderly driver has been charged with Criminal Negligence Causing Death in the July 25 crash that killed a 27-year old female motorcyclist.
Police confirmed to the Trail Times that the case is now in the hands of Rossland Provincial Court.
“The reason it takes so long for this type of investigation is first, and foremost, the reconstructionist report,” explained Sgt. Chad Badry of West Kootenay Traffic Services. “In reconstructing exactly what happened, there’s a lot of math and formulas involved and a peer review process – it takes months and months for that to get done.”
He says, in this particular incident, a number of “judicial authorizations” were required.
“(Those) had to be obtained in order to get the information we needed to support that particular charge,” he said. “And that slowed us down quite a bit as well.”
Investigation of another fatal 2016 accident, this one occurred in Fruitvale, has wrapped up and lies with Crown counsel.
On July 14, a 27-year old Fruitvale man was killed when a commercial tractor/trailer lost its load of crushed cars on Highway 3B near Old Salmo Road.
“We’ve finished the investigation and submitted reports to Crown counsel,” Badry confirmed. “And of course, when we submit a report to Crown that means that we’ve recommended some charges.”
Police will not comment on what those recommendations are, Badry said, because Crown may choose to go with different charges that may be more severe, or lesser.
“We certainly recognize that it’s really frustrating for the family in these types of situations,” he explained. “They want justice for their loved one that is now deceased and we recognize that.”
Badry concluded, “But, at the same time, we want to make sure we put the best case forward with a complete and thorough investigation.”