Following a two-vehicle accident last week in Thornhill, a resident in the area says the incident was inevitable due to limited visibility caused by a snowbank.
On Jan. 15 at approximately 6:45 p.m., a small vehicle turning from Kenworth Road collided with a van coming down Queensway Drive.
Thornhill Volunteer Fire Department chief Rick Boehm says one person was carried out by a stretcher to the hospital as a precaution but no one was seriously hurt.
Although the cause of the accident has not been publicly released, Thornhill resident Rick Eakin says this has been a problematic intersection as the snowbanks are over 10 feet in height and vehicles turning onto Queensway Drive can’t see any oncoming traffic.
“I phoned [the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure] on Tuesday, I also phoned them again on Wednesday and then that accident happened, but the snowbank is still there,” says Eakin. “My hope is that those people in the accident agree with my point of view because that [snowbank] is a liability.”
Earlier that week, Eakin says he also contacted the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and Nechako North Coast Construction to complain about the snowbank, but no one could answer who was responsible for it.
In an email to the Terrace Standard, a media spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) writes that Nechako Northcoast Construction is responsible for road maintenance in the Thornhill area, which includes pushing snow back off shoulders and at intersections, but there are no rules in place on how high a snowbank can be.
“There are no specified limits to snowbanks heights along our highways and side-roads,” states the email. “However we understand that visibility at intersections due to snowbanks can be a challenge, particularly after a large snowfall.”
The email adds that this intersection has now been cleared and that all drivers are reminded to use extra caution and approach all intersections defensively if visibility is limited.
Boehm says he’s not sure if the snowbank was to blame for the accident but he says Queensway Drive is a difficult road for many drivers as there are lots of hidden roadways feeding onto it. He adds that since the road is parallel to the river, it’s often a bit icier which, at 60 km/hour, can be a worry.
“Queensway, of all roads, is still managing an ice situation throughout the whole corridor and 60 kilometres might be too quick in these current conditions,” says Boehm. “Driver diligence set to driving in conditions like this is super important.”
In the print edition of the Terrace Standard, the article stated the small vehicle was hit by the van when turning onto Queensway Drive. The driver of the van has followed up to clarify that they were hit by the car as the other driver did not stop at the stop sign and collided with the van.