After the second fatal accident of 2019 between Leigh Road and the West Shore Parkway, the government of B.C. is looking at short-term options to improve safety in the area.
An accident on the Trans-Canada Highway near Leigh Road on Sunday claimed the life of a 24-year-old man, and was the second fatal head-on collision in the area in under one month.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) said it is working with RCMP to determine what caused the crashes, and will use that information to inform potential short-term engineering options to improve safety.
This comes after the province previously committed to long-term upgrades of the roadway back in 2016.
“Any consideration of short-term improvements will need to complement existing long-term design work that has already been completed, which includes four-laning this two-kilometre section of highway between Leigh Road and West Shore Parkway and adding median barriers,” MOTI stated.
The province is still in the midst of the McKenzie interchange project – roughly 15 kilometres away from Leigh Road. In the fall, the provincial government completed the Malahat Village Safety Improvement project – less than 10 kilometres from the intersection of Highway 1 and West Shore Parkway.
“Now that these important projects have been completed or are nearing completion, we anticipate moving forward with other safety priorities in the region, including the Leigh Road four-laning and median barrier project,” MOTI stated.
Langford Mayor Stew Young has been vocal in advocating for safety upgrades for a number of years. He says the changes are an emergency priority and sees no need to wait for an RCMP investigation.
“The most important thing they can do right now is put up the barriers,” he said. “This is absolutely [about] safety, I don’t care about reports or the studies.”
“Two deaths is enough intelligence for me to know a barrier needs to be there,” he added.
Young was frustrated by mention of the McKenzie interchange and Malahat safety project – which he said have no relevance to the safety emergency happening just kilometres away.
“When there’s an actual emergency situation we have to act as politicians and get it done.”