The accident happened early Wednesday afternoon when, according to police, one car made a left-hand turn in front of another vehicle travelling west toward Trail. (Black Press file photo)

Update: Ministry responds to concerns following crash on Highway 3B

RCMP reported a review of the site was launched following a July 2016 fatality

UPDATE: Thursday Dec. 14, response from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure regarding uncontrolled intersection on Highway 3B

“It is the ministry’s standard practice to review and investigate high collision locations points on our highway system, including the contributing factors, to ensure the ministry is making every effort for a safe and efficient road network. 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 is cautious about restricting further traffic movements at this location, as it would cause traffic to be redirected to other intersections that could impact traffic and safety through private properties.

We will continue to monitor the results of the changes we have made, to ensure they are working for motorists in the area.”

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Another crash at a Highway 3B turn off west of Waneta Plaza has re-surfaced concerns about the junction’s safety.

The accident happened early Wednesday afternoon when, according to police, one car made a left-hand turn in front of another vehicle travelling west toward Trail.

Cpl. Devon Reid, Acting NCO from the Greater Trail RCMP, confirmed that both parties were transported to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital and that the cause remains under investigation by the detachment.

(With no immediate fatalities, the file does not fall under the auspices of West Kootenay Traffic Services and subsequent follow up remains the jurisdiction of Greater Trail police)

“We don’t know a lot of details other than the cause is still under investigation,” Reid told the Trail Times. “And it will probably be awhile to be honest, because these types of investigations are complex and take a lot of time, so we might not have anything for weeks or even months.”

Reid clarified, “We have not determined if alcohol or speed were factors or not.”

Following a crash and fatality at the site in July 2016, RCMP Sgt. Darren Oelke confirmed that police had launched a review about the intersection’s safety with the province.

“There are meetings going on and we are working with the Ministry of Transportation and other parties to have a look at that intersection,” Oelke reported to Trail council last year (Nov. 7).

Notably, Sgt. Oelke no longer works in the Trail detachment.

“The ministry is doing a survey there as well to determine the sight lines,” he said last year. “ … our suggestions are that they shut down the left turns in and out of there, and have everybody drive up to the light.”

To date, Cpl. Reid said he has not received any information from the ministry about the site review.

Following the Dec. 6 incident, a Facebook user posted about his near-miss at the site earlier this year. His experience prompted almost 100 responses that included a request for Trail council to look into the matter.

The Trail Times contacted the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure by phone for a respective update but did not hear back by press time.

Additionally, the Times contacted Coun. Kevin Jolly, the city’s Protective Services appointee.

“I can confirm at this time,” Jolly said. “That a review was done by ministry officials and the RCMP at the time of the last fatal accident, and the road was deemed to meet current standards at that time.”

According to ICBC, uncontrolled intersections (no signs or traffic lights) are usually found in areas where there isn’t much traffic. The sites can be dangerous because drivers might not be expecting cross traffic or pedestrians.

If another vehicle has arrived at the intersection before you, slow down and yield.

If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right. ICBC warns drivers to proceed with caution when turning left where other traffic is approaching from the opposite direction. Yield to traffic that is in or near the intersection. If you intend to go straight through and a vehicle is already in the intersection turning left, you should yield.

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