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More signage added to 101 construction zone after crashes near stop light


This tractor trailer left Highway 101 at a construction zone in White Rock, Kings County on Friday trying to avoid a collision with cars lined up in a construction zone. - Adrian Johnstone
This tractor trailer left Highway 101 at a construction zone in White Rock, Kings County on Friday trying to avoid a collision with cars lined up in a construction zone. - Adrian Johnstone

Half a dozen crashes in the past few weeks at a construction zone on Highway 101 in Kings County has prompted the provincial Department of Transportation to add more signage ahead of the construction site.

The work on the Deep Hollow Road overpass in White Rock started last month and has seen the overpass reduced to one lane and controlled by temporary traffic lights on the highway.

As the road name implies, the overpass is in a hollow, and some people have complained that at heavy traffic times vehicles cresting the top of hollow quickly come upon a stopped line of traffic.

Among the collisions were a reported chain reaction on Sunday involving several vehicles, and a transport truck that drove into the ditch to avoid a collision Friday.

Transportation Department spokesman Peter McLaughlin said staff were notified over the weekend of the most recent crashes and reviewed the traffic control and traffic flow measures in place on that stretch of the highway.

He said signs are in place warning motorists that there is construction ahead, but more have been added.

“We now have electronic message boards set up approximately one kilometre from the construction zone signage,” he said in an emailed statement Tuesday afternoon. “The electronic message boards are being added to give additional warning to motorists that they should be prepared to stop.”

He said the department will continue to review traffic volumes and evaluate the sequencing of the signals, and is adjusting the location of the speed reduction signage to increase the length of the reduced speed zone.

“Safety of travellers on our highways is our highest priority,” he said.

The department is also consulting with the Provincial Traffic Authority.

Six recent collisions

The work at the site is being done by a private contractor hired by the province. McLaughlin said the department’s project engineer “has been overseeing the site on a daily basis and has been assuring us that it has been set up to be compliant with the standards contained in the Temporary Workplace Traffic Control Manual.”

He said the department is reminding motorists that whenever they see temporary workplace signs that they should be alert and prepared to react for changing conditions whether that be slowing, stopping, or shifting lanes.

RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Lisa Croteau said police responded to six collisions on the highway in the area around the construction site between July 29 and Aug. 18.

Those crashes involved a total of 14 vehicles, but only one person was sent to hospital as a result.

She said contributing factors in the collisions included speed, driving too fast for conditions, and medical impairment.

She said police are also reminding drivers to slow down in construction zones, follow the posted speed limts and stay focused on the road ahead so they can “respond to unexpected challenges on the roadway.”

Asked if police were concerned by the number of collisions in the short stretch of road, she replied that “with the RCMP’s emphasis on road safety, one collision is too many.”

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