Fire chief concerned about safety at intersection

Road conditions along Crofton Road are a safety concern for Crofton fire chief Ken Rukus.

Rukus said the roads that are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Transporation and Infrastructure in the area have taken quite a beating from the unusually heavy snowfalls this winter, and the plowing to clear the roads have only made the problem worse.

The ministry is responsible for the heavily used roadways from the Trans Canada Highway leading into Crofton.

That includes Mt. Sicker Road, which leads to the Chemainus Road/Crofton Road intersection and Crofton Road itself.

Rukus said the roadway is heavily used by logging trucks, chemical transports, school buses, ferry and residential traffic and he fears the road conditions will lead to a catastrophic accident.

“We had three young girls killed in an accident here years ago, and we don’t want anything like that to happen again,” he said.

“The potholes and dips in the roadway have drivers swerving into the opposite lane to avoid them. There are large commercial trucks using the roads all the time, as well as tourists, bicyclists and residential traffic, and I feel it’s only a matter of time before another tragic accident happens.”

Rukus said the Municipality of North Cowichan is responsible for a number of adjacent roadways and has been doing a good job of maintaining roads in its jurisdiction.

He points to the new pavement on Chemainus Road at the intersection of Crofton Road as proof.

He said he called the ministry and was told there are plans to survey the area soon in preparation for the road repairs.

“But I’ve heard from people in Crofton who said surveys have been going on there for years, with no changes to the roadways,” Rukus said.

“I realize these things can’t be fixed overnight and the ministry is probably doing as much as it can, but this problem really needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.”

A statement from the Ministry of Transporation and Infrastructure said the ministry’s maintenance contractor is aware of the potholes in the area, including the ones on Crofton Road, and are taking steps to address the issue.

The statement acknowledged the fact that the ministry’s contractors have seen approximately 10 per cent more potholes on its roads in the Cowichan Valley area, and the rest of southern Vancouver Island, due to the “challenging winter” and the number of freeze and thaw cycles this year.

It said maintenance contractor crews are currently patrolling, identifying and repairing potholes and more permanent fixes will be completed in the spring when the weather is better, ensuring the repairs will last.

“Crofton Road remains a high priority for the ministry for rehabilitation and resurfacing,” the statement said.

“The ministry will be undertaking further planning this year for a longer term fix for this portion of Crofton Road, and will use the results of these assessments to determine the timing and costs associated with an appropriate fix.”

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