Drone photo of the McKenzie Interchange during construction in the summer of 2018. (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Geography among factors behind Saanich’s place on worst intersection list

Site of McKenzie Interchange Project ranks as worst intersection on Vancouver Island

Traffic volume and geography help account for Saanich’s one-two-three finish among the worst intersections on Vancouver Island, as measured by crashes within the municipal borders of Saanich, according to ICBC based on 2017 figures.

Highway 17 and Sayward Road claims the ‘bronze’ with 71 recorded crashes. ‘Silver’ goes to the intersection of Blanshard Street and Saanich Road with 80 recorded crashes. The intersection of Admirals Road, McKenzie Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway now being upgraded under the McKenzie Interchange Project meanwhile claims ‘gold’ with 111 recorded crashes.

RELATED: Saanich intersections rank as Island’s three worst

“While I don’t know the specifics of why these intersections are more prone to crashes than others, I can say that they are all high volume highway intersections,” said Sgt. Julie Fast of the Saanich Police.

The intersections also exist among the two main commuter, transport and travel routes in and out of Greater Victoria, both from the Saanich Peninsula and from the West Shore/Malahat area, she said.

“And while they all fall within the jurisdiction of Saanich, they are all on [Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure] land, who are responsible for their design, engineering and maintenance,” she said.

RELATED: Saanich’s worst intersection won’t get better until after summer 2019

Fast said Saanich police, along with the Integrated Road Safety Unit (IRSU), routinely enforce local intersections. “The focus of our [traffic safety unit] is to prevent crashes and make our roads safer, which they do every day,” she said.

Fast said drivers should be “extra vigilant” when they approach, enter and travel through intersections, even if they have the right-of-way.

She added drivers should slow down to give themselves more reaction time and avoid running yellow lights, which allow drivers to clear intersections and essentially mean the same thing as a red light, namely stop.

“The only difference is that cross traffic will still be on a red when you are on the yellow,” she said.

When the light turns green, drivers should pause and look around for vehicles that might be running the red or turning late, she said.

RELATED: Saanich’s most dangerous intersections

Before turning across traffic, drivers should look around for other vehicles to see what their intentions might be, she said.

Finally, drivers should not change lanes when in an intersection.

“It’s illegal and dangerous,” she added.

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