Three Burnaby intersections among region's worst, but not much longer

Changes to the configuration of the Willingdon interchange with Highway 1 should make that intersection safer, says ICBC
Changes to the configuration of the Willingdon interchange with Highway 1 should make that intersection safer, says ICBC's director of road safety, John Dickinson.

Three of Metro Vancouver's most notorious intersections for crashes are in Burnaby. But that's not likely to be the case much longer, said the director of road safety for ICBC.

John Dickinson said changes to the configurations of the Willingdon, Kensington and Cariboo interchanges to accommodate new bridges over an expanded Highway 1 were engineered with an eye to making them safer.

At the Willingdon interchange, which was cited in an ICBC report as the worst intersection in Metro Vancouver with 350 crashes in 2013, that's meant moving the offramp from Highway 1 east bound from a direct merge onto Willingdon to a signal-controlled turn onto the busy thoroughfare. The old merge of northbound and southbound vehicles heading to the highway's eastbound on ramp is now also controlled by signals.

"Most of those intersections were 50 years old," said Dickinson. "When they were originally designed, safety wasn't part of the equation."

Nor was the kind of traffic volume they carry every day anticipated.

Dickinson said the sheer number of cars and trucks using those interchanges made it inevitable they'd also record a high number of collisions.

The Cariboo interchange onto Gagliardi was cited as the third-worst intersection with 250 collisions while the Kensington off and on ramps' 210 crashes ranked it as the sixth most dangerous intersection.

Those two are still in various stages of their reconstruction.

Dickinson said ICBC engineers will work with project engineers to make safety recommendations and occasionally even help pay for some of those improvements from an $8-milion road program.

But even the best engineering can't account for driver carelessness, said Dickinson.

"It's driver behaviour that dictates whether there will be a crash," he said. "There is always the potential for a collision."



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