While public opinion remains mixed, the B.C. government says the recently-completed reconfiguration of the intersection at Highway 1 and Balmoral Road will improve safety and access.
The Ministry of Transportation and Development formally announced the completion of recent work at the intersection in a Wednesday, Dec. 4 news release.
ERC crews have completed milling and paving the Balmoral Intersection on #BCHwy1, east of #Sorrento. Weather permitting, paving will be complete Tuesday and crews will be moving on to installing new barriers. Please plan for minor delays and two-lane traffic when traveling. pic.twitter.com/y3iYVtHam8
— Eagle Rock Construction (@EagleRock76) November 9, 2019
“For years, this location has had a higher than average collision rate, mostly due to traffic turning left onto the highway or travelling across it,” said Transportation Minister Claire Trevena. “We are focused on continually improving safety for drivers, and that’s why we worked on this important realignment.”
Located approximately 10 kilometres east of Sorrento, the intersection is on what was an undivided, four-lane section of highway with full movement access to and from Balmoral Road. The new configuration, says the ministry, allows for right turn-in, right turn-out and left turn-in movements on the highway, with a protected left turn bay.
Drivers on Balmoral Road wanting to cross the highway, or make a left turn onto Highway 1, are required to use the nearby underpass.
The ministry states the $3.3-million project also includes highway acceleration lanes at Balmoral Road in both the eastbound and westbound directions to further improve the safety of the intersection.
Numerous motor vehicle collisions have occurred at the intersection, including two this August within a two week period, both resulting in serious injury. That same month, the ministry noted the intersection had seen a “higher than average collision rate over the last decade.”
After significant input from local people, we're moving forward with a safety reconfiguration of the #BCHwy1 and Balmoral Road intersection, which had a higher than average collision rate over the last decade: https://t.co/lzMlVBuuMo #Sorrento pic.twitter.com/ALf0Pm7XeB
— BC Transportation (@TranBC) August 14, 2019
Representatives from the ministry hosted an open house in June of this year to share information about the problematic intersection and solicit public input on a possible fix. Improvements were proposed in July, receiving mixed reaction.
“It’s not the ideal solution, but it’s a step in the right direction,” commented South Shuswap Electoral Area C director Paul Demenok.
The recently completed intersection has been the subject of discussion on social media where response has also been lukewarm. Much of the existing concern is focused on the pressure that will be on the nearby frontage roads and underpass with drivers no longer being able to cross the highway at Balmoral Road or turn left onto the highway.
Temporary line markings are in place at the upgraded intersection , with permanent markings to be applied in spring 2020 when warmer temperatures permit.