When tragedy strikes the heart of a community with a fatal collision, like on Ballam Road last Sunday, City of Chilliwack officials automatically make a point of looking into the state of the road.
That investigation is ongoing, confirmed Coun. Chuck Stam, using best practices and engineering by city staff.
“That is standard practice, even for minor accidents,” said Stam. “This was a terrible, terrible accident, especially given the youth of the victims.”
Two 18-year-olds were killed when the truck plunged into the river, after veering off Ballam Road, near Fairfield Island, on the northern tip of Chilliwack.
There have been other incidents there, and the steep riverbanks nearby are known to be a popular vehicle dumping zones for criminals.
There are also several Chilliwack roads that have deep bodies of water like agricultural ditches or even a churning river next to them — without any barriers to stop wayward traffic.
This is true for parts of Chadsey, Hope River or Prest Road, or even Camp River Road, Chilliwack Central or Prairie Central Roads.
“It would be impossible to put barriers on every road on this list,” Stam said.
Transportation officials are continually monitoring the state of the Chilliwack roads to see if safety can be increased.
“As someone who lives in the general vicinity, it’s clear Ballam Road traffic has been increasing.”
Ballam used to be a “rarely used rural road,” Stam said, but now it’s become a much busier thoroughfare.
“That may be the recommendation coming forth, that it be put on the list for future paving.”
Any recommendations for changes or improvements to city roadways will be forwarded to senior engineering staff.
“Obviously we’re waiting for the official crash investigation and analysis to wrap up,” said Stam. “It’s impossible to surmise what could have been done differently here.”