Letter: Proposed Lakeshore bridge needs perfect drivers

An open house will be held at St. Paul’s United Church at 3131 Lakeshore Road on Wednesday, April 2 from 4 p.m. to 7 pm.

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To the editor:

The Okanagan Mission Residents’ Association (OMRA) is a major stakeholder in the design of the new Lakeshore Road Bridge [over Mission Creek], and I have been engaged in this project as OMRA’s liaison for over three years.

My main concern has been the city’s self-imposed site constraints of the project, which has been recognized in two formal safety audits over the same period.

The numbers tell the story about this limitation; namely the risk of rear end collisions at the signal lights at the Truswell Road intersection.

The bridge deck will be raised 2.7 metres (nine feet) from its current level, which will create a 42-metre ramp from the bridge to the stop line at the intersection. The engineering drawings determine that the vertical curvature of the bridge provides a maximum line of sight of  71.2 metres.

According to Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) Guidelines, a vehicle travelling down a road grade of 6 per cent at 50 km/h requires a safe stopping distance (SSD) of 68.7 metres. The guidelines assume that the driver is alert and road conditions are safe.

With over 6,000 northbound crossings per day a more likely scenario would place at least one preceding vehicle at the stop line, which would reduce the available stopping distance for the second vehicle.  Two safety audits have already acknowledged that this design element will increase the likelihood of rear-end collisions at this location.

The bridge design is predicated on the necessity for vehicles to travel at or below the posted speed limit of 50 km/h. The SSD for a vehicle travelling 3 km/h over the limit [takes the vehicle into the crosswalk].

In recognition of the need to limit the danger of excessive speeds through the corridor, the design team has incorporated the permanent placement of hazard lights at the south end of the bridge. Other elements include a roundabout at Lexington Drive and narrower traffic lanes.

It’s important for you to know what you are getting, so please take advantage of an upcoming unique opportunity to discuss these and any other concerns with the design team. An open house will be held at St. Paul’s United Church at 3131 Lakeshore Road on Wednesday, April 2 from 4 p.m. to 7 pm.

Len McFarlane,

Okanagan Mission Residents’ Association

Kelowna

 

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