Last week, the Townsman reported that parents and community members in Fort Steele are concerned for their children’s safety when getting picked up and dropped off by the school bus on Hwy 93/95 at Campsall Road.
The Westport Community Group pointed to highway safety in the area, specifically after an incident at the beginning of March between a school bus and an SUV near Campsall Road. Video footage of the situation shows that the SUV nearly missed the school bus while going over the centre line of the road.
Nadine Campsall is a former resident of Campsall Road and is the current president of the Westport Community Group. She explained that the community group has been working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to try and get a turning lane installed at the confluence of roads to help make it more safe.
Despite years of back and forth, Campsall said not much was being done.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in an email that a traffic count at this location was conducted in the fall of 2020.
“Unfortunately, the counter wasn’t working properly and the data captured was not accurate. Traffic counters need to be done in snow-free conditions,” explained the spokesperson. “As such, the ministry will be re-doing the traffic count in June to help determine traffic volumes and turning movements.”
In terms of whether the Ministry is even considering a turning lane or not, the spokesperson says the data that is collected will help to determine what to do going forward.
“The ministry’s traffic engineers will be identifying potential measures based on the data collected. Consideration of a turning lane is based on ministry analysis of the amount of turning movements and the available gaps in traffic to determine whether a turning lane is warranted,” said the spokesperson.
Campsall said many dangerous incidents have taken place and that the issue is exasperated during the snowy, winter months. She says that when the road isn’t properly cleared it creates issues for the bus drivers.
Mainroads is responsible for clearing this section of highway and the Ministry says that standards are being met.
“The ministry constantly monitors our maintenance contractor’s performance to ensure the high standards in our maintenance agreement are being met,” said the ministry spokesperson. “Our overall evaluation is that the maintenance contractor was generally meeting or exceeding the ministry’s standards this winter. Drivers are encouraged to contact Mainroad East Kootenay’s 24-hour line at 1-800-665-4929 if they have a road maintenance concern.”
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