News

Valleyview traffic-light change possible by November

A dangerous traffic light at the Valleyview Centre intersection could be changed to a controlled light, from a risky advanced green, by November.

Cam Ferguson, Cowichan Bay’s deputy fire chief, said Friday he got word from MLA Bill Routley the transport ministry is green-lighting requested changes.

“The improvement requires new equipment: concrete bases, poles and signal heads,” said ministry staffer Kate Trotter.

“The ministry has been working with the RCMP since early this year to monitor and review the traffic and safety operations of this intersection.

“Based on the review, it was determined left-turn signals are now warranted,” she wrote the News Leader Pictorial.

“Funding for this project was secured this summer, at which time the ministry began the electrical design for the signal modifications.”

“It’s a pretty bold move,” Ferguson said the new light work.

“(Shawnigan Lake RCMP) Sgt. Rob Webb also brought his concerns forward in February after a big accident there, and this (letter and a recent crash at Valleyview) was just the catalyst.”

The good news followed Ferguson emailing his concern letter Thursday — on Routley’s advice — to Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom’s office.

Ferguson’s letter spells out the high crash numbers at the Cobble Hill Road-Island Highway intersection where there’s currently an advanced green light allowing left-turns for southbound traffic.

Ferguson and Webb suspect the current light, also allowing turns when north- and southbound traffic clears, is a big factor in wrecks at the intersection.

Trotter said the new light will be a protected mode signal. Traffic in the opposite direction will be stopped by red lights and the left-hand turn is designated with a green arrow. Motorists will only be permitted to turn left when the green arrow is active.

Pedestrian activated controls will remain, sensors will detect traffic in the left turn lane and the estimated cost is $17,000.

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