Rumble strips, tree removal among review recommendations of Broncos crash site

ARMLEY — A review of the intersection where the Humboldt Broncos collision took place recommends rumble strips, wider shoulders and removal of sight-blocking trees, among other improvements.

The independent review of the Highway 35-Highway 335 intersection, conducted McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd., gave 13 recommendations, ordered by priority.

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Chris Joseph, a former NHLer whose son Jaxon died in the crash, told the Canadian Press all of the recommendations are good.

"We definitely want to make the roads safer," Joseph said. "I mean, that's pretty much all we've got, right? We lost our son and we're just hoping to avoid future accidents like that."

In a media release, the province promised to implement all of the recommendations.

 

1: Sign improvements

The report said many of the signs near the intersection are too low in height and too far away from the highway, while being too close to the intersection. Signs telling drivers to slow down and to go at 60 kilometre per hour added since the collision do not meet regulatory standards.

To fix these issues will cost $15,000 to $18,000 and should be done within two years.

 

2: Pavement messages

A “Stop Ahead” message should be painted into the pavement when drivers should slow down on Highway 335, while a “Stop” message should be painted right at the intersection. This will cost $1,500 and be done within two years.

 

3: Tree removal

The trees on the southeast corner of the intersection should be removed to improve sight lines.

“There are some elements along westbound Highway 335 that could lead to tunnel vision. This includes the road alignment, horizon, trees, and power poles,” the report read, adding the effect could focus motorists eyes away from the stop sign. “The illusion was observed to be even more pronounced during wet and/or sun glare conditions.”

The trees are on private property and there would have to be negotiations.

Ian Boxall, a RM of Connaught councillor, said to the Canadian Press he didn’t think the owner should be asked to remove the trees.

"If you follow the rules of the road and stop at the stop sign, the trees aren't an issue," he said.

That is expected to cost $15,000 and take two to five years.

 

4 and 5: Remove pull out/permanent memorial

The northwest corner of the intersection used to be a service station, but has since become a pullout where trucks can park. Since the collision, it’s been the site of a temporary memorial.

If the memorial wasn’t there, the recommendation would be to remove the pull out at a cost of $20,000.

A permanent memorial should be considered at a safer location that’s set far enough from the highway to be safe and has a seperate access road.

"We want a roadside memorial, we don't want it to be a distraction," Joseph said.

 

6 and 7: Breakaway signs

Those examining the intersection couldn’t determine if the railway signals and lights were fixed solidly into the ground or had the ability to break away if hit. If they aren’t designed to break away, they should be replaced.

That would cost $10,000 and should be done in two to five years, if necessary.

 

8: Rumble strips

Rumble strips should be added to Highway 335 on both sides of Highway 35.

The RM of Connaught had asked the provincial government to add the strips in a letter that was sent after their April 9 council meeting.

The strips would cost $150,000 and should be done in two to five years.

 

9: Larger stop signs

The report recommend larger than standard stop and stop ahead signs.

Currently, the stop signs are 120 by 120 centimetres, the largest sized used in Saskatchewan. In some of its intersections Alberta used stop signs that are 150 by 150 centimetres.

That would cost $3,000 and be done within two years.

 

10: Solid centre line

The current lines on Highway 35 allow vehicles to pass at the intersection. The report recommends making the lines solid to stop that, which would cost $3,000 and should be done within two years.

 

11: Elevator access

The turnout to the Cargill elevator on the northeast side of the intersection is 100 metres north of the intersection. The report recommends moving the access onto Highway 335 further away from the intersection.

That change would require negotiations with private landowners and cost $250,000. It should be done over the long term.

 

12: Widen shoulders

In all four directions, the shoulders are smaller than the two metre standard given by the highways ministry. To widen would cost $200,000 per kilometre per side.

 

13: Realign power lines

Eleven sets of power lines cross the intersection, increasing visual clutter and increasing the mental load on motorist. The cost to realign the power lines was unknown.

 

Rejected recommendations

Making the intersection a four-way stop was rejected by the report, which said it would make it more dangerous.

“Rear-end collisions on Highway 35 would likely increase with the implementation of a four-way stop controlled high speed junction,” it read.

A roundabout is not recommended due to the higher traffic volumes on Highway 35 compared to Highway 335.

“The costs associated with the implementation of a roundabout could be better used on other mitigations or at locations suffering from a higher collision frequency/rate.”

 

Priority Improvement Estimated Cost Relative Benefit-Cost Time Frame
1 Various Sign Related Enhancements $15,000–18,000 High 0 – 2 years
2 Install “Stop” and “Stop Ahead” pavement messages $1,500 High 0 – 2 years
3 Tree removal on private property $15,000 High 2 – 10 years
4 Construct new roadside memorial and access road Design dependent Design dependent 2 – 10 years
5 Remove gravel roadway $20,000 High 2 – 10 years
6 Install railway signals on break-away bases (if required) $6,000 Medium 0 – 2 years
7 Install light standards on break-away bases (if required) $4,000 Medium 0 – 2 years
8 Mill rumble strips on Highway 335 approaches $150,000 Medium 0 – 2 years
9 Install larger sized Stop and Stop Ahead signs $3,000 Low 0 – 2 years
10 Paint solid centreline on Highway 35 and Highway 335 $1,500 Low 0 – 2 years
11 Realign Grain Elevator Access to Highway 335 $250,000 Low >10 years
12 Widen Shoulders $200,000 / km per side Low >10 years
13 Realign Overhead Power Lines Unknown Low >10 years

 

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