The number of crashes on Highway 1 between 232nd Street in Langley and Chilliwack increased dramatically between 2011 and 2015, resulting in dozens more injuries, according to numbers from ICBC.
In 2011, 308 such crashes – including 129 involving an injury or fatality – were recorded by the provincial insurance company. By 2015, just four years later, the number of recorded accidents had jumped 46 per cent. That year, 449 crashes were reported to ICBC including 181 that resulted in injury or death.
Local governments have long called for the six-laning of the busy stretch of highway.
A separate Ministry of Transportation document released through a Freedom of Information request earlier this year shows that even before the most recent jump in collisions, the highway was already exceeding provincial benchmarks for collision rates.
Between 2008 and 2013, the stretch of highway between 264th Street in Langley and Highway 11 in Abbotsford recorded 0.22 collisions per million vehicle kilometres. That rate was 10 per cent higher than the provincial benchmark for such sections of highway.
That report found that 207 of 908 collisions involved driver attention, 73 involved tail-gating drivers, 58 were suspected to be related to alcohol and 57 were linked to a driver even falling asleep or suffering from “extreme fatigue.”
More than a third of the crashes were rear-end collisions. Two of the highway incidents involved a car actually in reverse.
In Abbotsford, the Mont Lehman Road intersection was the most-collision-prone location, with 110 collisions over the time period. The McCallum Road interchange was the site of 73 crashes, with the Clearbrook junction linked to 63 accidents.
Forty-four per cent of collisions resulted in injury, while nine – or one per cent – involved fatalities.