A recent high-impact collision at one of South Surrey’s more notorious intersections has sparked a renewed call for the provincial government to step in.
Kim Squirell contacted Peace Arch News on Dec. 11, one day after a two-vehicle collision at the 176 Street (Highway 15) and 40 Avenue intersection sent her daughter Mackenzie and a friend to the hospital.
“She called me, obviously in tears, and when I showed up at the scene, I was not expecting to see what I saw,” Squirell said.
“Her girlfriend was brought to Royal Columbian (Hospital), she was released this morning. They both are pretty badly bruised and traumatized. Luckily, no life-threatening injuries or anything like that – and the other driver as well.”
Surrey Fire Fighters cut the roof off of Mackenzie’s badly damaged vehicle seemingly to access the injured occupants.
“They were crossing that road and the car that ended up T-boning them actually had the indicator on to turn. And I guess he ended up going straight and running into them,” Squirell said.
“I work at the hospital… I’ve seen injuries and deaths at that intersection and I’ve always told them not to go that way. But they were following Google Maps, and that’s the way it took them.”
Squirell said the vehicle that struck her daughter’s landed right in front of a makeshift memorial, built after a two-vehicle crash killed a young man at the intersection on Sept. 5 this year.
“Something needs to be done at that intersection. There needs to be a barrier across there or something,” Squirell said.
Following the fatal collision, many Semiahmoo Peninsula residents, including Surrey South BC Liberal MLA Stephanie Cadieux, suggested it’s time to review the intersection for safety improvements.
September, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure told PAN that it’s “currently reviewing” the area for safety improvements.
Wednesday, the Ministry wrote via email that the intersection is still under review.
The ministry said that the review is expected to be complete at the end of the year and the details regarding possible modifications are pending the review.
Cadieux, who drove by the Dec. 10 accident not long after it occurred, said the ministry told her that once the review is complete, the province needs to reach out to the City of Surrey because 40 Avenue is a city-owned road.
“So all I know is they’re working on it,” Cadieux said.
Cadieux said the population increase in South Surrey has resulted in more people using 40 Avenue as a cut through, “we never used to see lineups of people waiting (to cross).”
“I think it’s due for a re-think and I’ve laid out my thoughts to (the ministry) in writing and I’m waiting now just to see what their investigation and review comes up with.”
Following the fatal collision on Sept. 5, PAN readers shared online a number of suggestions for the intersection, including installing a traffic light; installing a divider; or a right-turn-only sign.
Many pointed out that making a left-hand turn onto 176 Street from 40 Avenue forces motorists to cross a number of traffic lanes on a stretch of road where vehicles tend to travel closer to 100 km/h than the posted 80 km/h speed limit.
“It’s the left turns that seem to be a problem,” Cadieux said. “At least, as a casual observer, that appears to be when things get a little dicey there.”
Cadieux said earlier this fall she received a note from Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena indicating that the province expects to have a decision in early spring 2020.
Surrey Fire Service Deputy Chief John Lehmann said he can’t comment on the design of the intersection, however, he compared the number of times firefighters have responded to a vehicle collision at that intersection to Highway 15 and 32 Avenue.
“The numbers we had were very close, granted you get a lot more traffic through 32 and Highway 15,” he said.
Personally, Lehmann said, he has not tried to cross Highway 15 at 40 Avenue. If he did have to cross, he said, he would opt to take a different route at a controlled intersection.