Safety improvements slated for collision-prone Sumas Prairie intersections

Safety improvements slated for collision-prone Sumas Prairie intersections

Car crashes have killed at least nine people in the rural Abbotsford area over the last decade

Intersections on Sumas Prairie are slated for an array of safety enhancements after a city review found more could be done to stop serious and deadly accidents at Abbotsford’s rural junctions.

The suggested changes were applauded as “fantastic” by one of the two women whose presentation to a committee in January prompted the city’s review.

In January, Camille Timmermans and Joyce Verwoerd showed the city’s Transportation Advisory Committee data that Sumas Prairie’s long, straight rural roads had been the site of more than 200 crashes since 2010. Seven people were killed during that time period along roads they called the “Sumas Prairie Speedway.” Two more people – a couple in their 20s – died this summer after a crash at Marion and Wells Line roads.

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

Since the presentation, the city’s traffic engineers have been reviewing five years of crash data and conducting safety audits at dozens of rural intersections.

This week, senior transportation engineer Gordon Botha told the committee that those reviews show some intersections need “enhancements” to make them safer.

Those improvements could include: advance warning signs, larger stop signs, improved road markings, improved lighting, identification of other hazards and “maintenance of sight lines,” according to a PowerPoint presentation at the meeting. The city will begin installing signs and markings, and will request BC Hydro improve lighting, staff say. The city will also undertake safety audits on more than 100 additional rural intersections around Abbotsford.

Verwoerd was pleased to hear the city was looking to address residents’ concerns.

“This can only be a help,” she said. “That’s very good news.”

It’s unclear which specific intersections will be getting which improvements, and which intersections have yet to be studied. The News was not present at the committee meeting, and city staff are not allowed to speak to the media. The News was not able to obtain the individual safety audits and has filed a Freedom of Information request.

A report by staff is expected to go to council by the end of the year.

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