Const. Al L’Abbe helps co-ordinate the emergency response at a three-vehicle collision Saturday afternoon on the Trans-Canada Highway near Tim Hortons. This was one of a number of motor vehicle accidents that occurred over the long weekend

Crash map statistics not surprising to Sicamous RCMP

A new ICBC database may help the District of Sicamous’ case for a fix to the locally infamous “octopus” intersection.

Const. Al L’Abbe helps co-ordinate the emergency response at a three-vehicle collision Saturday afternoon on the Trans-Canada Highway near Tim Hortons. This was one of a number of motor vehicle accidents that occurred over the long weekend, including a four-vehicle collision on the highway near the Husky. In all, there were minor injuries but none life-threatening.

A new ICBC database may help the District of Sicamous’ case for a fix to the locally infamous “octopus” intersection.

ICBC’s crash maps, available at www.icbc.com/about-ICBC/news_room/icbc_facts, show the hot spots for motor vehicle incidents between 2007 and 2011 in communities throughout the province.

Sicamous’ crash map shows 78 motor vehicle incidents occurred in that four-year time span, 28 of which included “casualties” ranging from minor injuries to fatalities. The hot spot is clearly the octopus, with 11incidents recorded for the intersection at Highway 97A and Main Street, and 18 at the nearby Trans-Canada Highway/97A intersection. Nine of these incidents resulted in casualties.

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Carl Vinet says he’s not surprised by these statistics.

“It’s a very bad configuration, a road configuration at that site, that’s for sure,” says Vinet. “It’s a matter I have discussed with the Sicamous district, they’re aware of the situation and we share the same concerns.”

Other bad spots include the Solsqua-Sicamous Road/Trans-Canada turning lane, where half of the six recorded incidents resulted in casualties; the Highway 97A/Paradise Avenue intersection, with five incidents and one casualty; and the Old Spallumcheen Road/Bruhn Bridge/Trans-Canada Highway intersection (as well as on the bridge), where there were six incidents, including two casualties.

Having campaigned on improving the driving conditions at the bridge as well as the octopus/TCH/97A intersections, Coun. Terry Rysz wasn’t surprised with the number of accidents at these locations, but was somewhat taken aback by the number of casualties.

Rysz describes the highway/octopus intersections as the most awkward he’s ever seen.

“You’ve got at least six different entries into that intersection… and it’s incredibly dangerous,” Rysz commented.

Rysz says the district has sent a proposed fix for the octopus to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, but there’s been no reply that he’s aware of. He adds there has been dialogue with Shuswap MLA George Abbott and MP Colin Mayes, but nothing “constructive at this stage for getting a fix for the whole thing.” Regardless, Rysz says the road and highway hotspots identified by ICBC remain a priority for himself and council.

“We need to address it and write a letter and maybe we might get some results,” said Rysz in response to ICBC’s crash map for Sicamous. “It is a definite priority as far as I’m concerned… It’s just that, to get those wheels turning with the Ministry of Transportation, it’s a difficult one. But maybe through ICBC we might be able to put some pressure on them to get something done with that.”