Many Sumas Prairie intersections were found to have too-small stop signs, and most needed advance warning signs, according to audits obtained by The News. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

Most Sumas Prairie intersections lacked key signs, city review found

Audits of intersections in crash-plagued area of Abbotsford found many lacked important signage

A review of Sumas Prairie’s intersections found most of those audited lacked key signs, including one that was at the site of a fatal collision earlier this year.

The city began auditing intersections on Sumas Prairie earlier this year after residents, armed with crash data, pleaded for action to reduce the number of serious collisions in the area.

Camille Timmermans and Joyce Verwoerd showed that more than 200 crashes – seven of them involving fatalities – had taken place on the straight rural roads of Sumas Prairie between 2010 and the end of 2018. The city’s traffic engineers began reviewing crash data, and safety audits were conducted at rural intersections this summer.

RELATED: Safety improvements slated for collision-prone Sumas Prairie intersections

RELATED: Abbotsford residents urge change in high-crash ‘Sumas Prairie Speedway’

A range of improvements – including the addition of signs, improved lighting and better road markings – have followed the audits. Work is continuing into next spring and the city is conducting similar reviews of other rural intersections around Abbotsford, after which more improvements will follow.

The News recently obtained the results of 40 intersection audits, which comprised a six-page checklist looking at land use, speed limits, lighting, signs, pavement markings, visibility and sight lines, and safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

The audits began in early August, just two weeks after a collision that killed two young people at the intersection of Marion and Wells Line roads.

Of the 40 intersections analyzed, eight were determined to have “undersized” stop signs, while more than half of the junctions had “signs missing from key locations.” Those missing signs were usually advance-warning signs that notified drivers of an upcoming stop sign.

At the intersection of Wells Line and Marion, the site of the fatal crash, staff found that necessary advance warning signs were absent, that the stop signs should be larger, and that the road should have marked stop lines.

None of those three deficiencies was unusual, with a lack of stop lines also a common defect.

The audits have informed improvements to intersections.

In an emailed statement, a city spokesperson said, “Further technical analysis of crash data will allow the City to further improve road infrastructure for the benefit of all users.”

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