Traffic safety inspector to aid Whitehorse

A Vancouver traffic-safety expert will inspect Whitehorse’s deadliest intersections next week. The Yukon Highways department has hired…

A Vancouver traffic-safety expert will inspect Whitehorse’s deadliest intersections next week.

The Yukon Highways department has hired “renowned” road safety engineer Paul de Leur.

De Leur will touch down Monday and will spend two days examining intersections along the Alaska Highway between Rabbit Foot Canyon and Two Mile Hill.

The city will then retain him for an extra day to take a peek at the notoriously crash-prone Second and Fourth Avenue intersection.

“Normally traffic planning and highway safety is something we have expertise on within the department and we rely on that expertise … but because of some of the sensitivities around Rabbit Foot Canyon, and the number of interest groups around those sensitivities, we thought it would be money well-spent just to double-check what we’re doing,” said assistant deputy minister of Transportation Bob Magnuson.

De Leur, who holds PhD in civil engineering and is a former director of highway safety for the BC ministry of Transportation, will cost the Yukon between $5,000 and $10,000 for his services.

The Yukon government will soon be making $2 million worth of improvements to the Alaska Highway between Two Mile Hill and Crestview.

“As a part of that project we’re looking to put in as many safety-related amenities as possible along the route,” said Magnuson, adding there are more accidents proportionally in about a two-kilometre stretch of the highway then in the surrounding area.

“We’re gonna fix up some accesses; we’re gonna put in some guide rail barriers along in front of the Kopper King where the vehicles kind of come and go at will there.”

They’ve asked de Leur to review the plan and make suggestions before improvement construction begins.

“We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can with the money we’re gonna spend to maintain a high level of safety, given some of the issues that have gone on through that piece of road in the last number of years.”

Once the city got wind that de Leur was coming up, they jumped at the chance to get his advice.

“He was retained by YTG Highways and we’re piggy backing with that,” said city engineering manager Wayne Tuck.

De Leur will spend an extra day consulting with Tuck on July 27th.

Last year, the city changed the Second and Fourth Avenue intersection from having a single left lane to two dual left lanes coming southbound from Two Mile Hill.

Since then there has been an abnormally high rate of accidents.

Tuck blames it on bad driving.

“People are running through red lights, their not turning left properly, they’re turning left in front of other vehicles, they’re traveling too close to the vehicle in front of them, or they drift over, they don’t stay in their lane,” he told council on Monday.

Nevertheless, he will be double-checking with de Leur, just in case he’s missing something.

“I certainly am anxious to get the report from this person,” said acting mayor Dave Austin.

“I assume he’s a professional and he knows what he’s doing.”

De Leur should make a special presentation to council, said councillor Bev Buckway.

“It might be quite enlightening for us to clue in to what is happening in other jurisdictions across the country as well,” she said.

De Leur is expected to submit a report by the middle of August.