Median on Highway 10 unlikely despite deadly crash

NORTH DELTA — Public calls to install a median on a dangerous portion of Highway 10 following a fatality will likely not be heeded by the province.

Two Surrey high school students died on Monday (Oct. 12) on the curve west of Scott Road in North Delta, prompting the public to call for protective barriers between the four-lanes of traffic. Cody Kehler and Chantal MacLean, both 17, were killed in a five-vehicle collision on the hilly curve between Scott Road and Highway 91.

But while a spokesman for the ministry of transportation and infrastructure expressed condolences to the accident victims, no changes are planned for the provincial roadway.

"There is currently insufficient room to add median barriers to this section of highway," he said. "In order to meet safety requirements, the highway would need to be widened by about two to three metres to accommodate the placement of a median barrier."

The ministry is continuing to work with the Delta Police to review the circumstances of the crash as well as conducting its own investigation to see if any safety improvements are warranted.

Asked about the lack of a divider, Delta Police Sgt. Sarah Swallow said a median would be a traffic management initiative supported by police.

"Properly separating traffic has the effect of reducing head-on collisions and this is something we have seen in the case of the medians installed at the base of Nordel Way," she said. "However, our focus as police still remains on education and enforcement initiatives for drivers to limit preventable collisions."

Surrey resident Gary Patriquin recently wrote to the Now that his wife was killed at the same spot, and can recall at least three other fatalities.

"As a person who lost his wife in another car crash years ago on Highway 10, not far from the site of Monday’s event, I am, frankly, scared to death every time I have to go up or down that dangerous, curved, highspeed hill," he said in a letter to the editor.

The speed limit on that section of road is 80 km/h, although some drivers exceed that speed significantly, which can result in disastrous consequences on the curve, particularly in rainy weather when the roads are slick.

The curve on Highway 10 is an "old chestnut" said Mayor Lois Jackson, adding it’s been discussed by many previous councils. Since the latest crash, Delta has contacted the ministry once again requesting something be done for commuter safety.

"I go home that way a lot myself," said Jackson. "And I’m always very, very careful because I have to be in that outside lane because then I’m turning left to go down Scott Road."

The last major accident in July 2012 prompted then-minister of transportation Blair Lekstrom to look into adding a median. Although there was no movement on a barrier for Highway 10, Jackson noted that a head-on collision on Nordel Way shortly thereafter prompted Delta to install a barrier of their own.

"If it was our road I suppose we could put up those barricades right away. But it’s not our road and that’s one of the difficulties with some of these things. It takes government sometimes to move."

—with file from Dave Willis, Delta Optimist

Twitter @adrianmacnair

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