Worst spot for crashes in 2014: Golf Links Rd and Harbour Expressway

New statistics obtained by CBC News show the Golf Links Road and Harbour Expressway intersection in Thunder Bay ended up as the city's worst intersection for traffic collisions in 2014.
OPP Officers investigate a collision on Highway 11/17 in Thunder Bay in the fall of 2014. (Cathy Alex/CBC)
If there's one thing that drivers love to complain about in Thunder Bay it's the poor condition of the roads. And if it's not the roads then it's their fellow drivers. But if you go by the year end collision report from the police department the numbers a 2:11

New statistics obtained by CBC News show the Golf Links Road and Harbour Expressway intersection in Thunder Bay ended up as the city's worst intersection for traffic collisions in 2014.

That concluded a trend that started earlier in the year. Six collisions happened at Golf Links and the Harbour Expressway intersection in the last three months of 2014, bringing the total for the year to almost two dozen.

But the same location saw far fewer collisions in 2013, when there was construction in that area for months.
Thunder Bay Police Service's Glenn Porter. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

Traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter said roadwork can have a big influence on accidents.

"The traffic flow, the loads that those roads carry, it shifts the pressure points, the intersections, to different locations," he said, adding that construction projects usually involve major arterial roads. That can mean high volumes of traffic are re-routed, creating the opportunity for more accidents at other intersections.

The list of dangerous intersections is useful for deciding where to station police traffic unit personnel in the short-term, Porter noted.

"It just reinforces what I think I'm seeing in patterns and it gives us a clearer planning tool," he said.

"But it's temporary, we know it's not going to last for very long."

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Three fatalities resulted from these crashes last year. There were five in 2013. Porter attributes the decline to more work being done by police on educating drivers about collisions and their consequences.
This truck was one of many involved in traffic collisions in 2014 in Thunder Bay. (Thunder Bay Police)

Education is a big part of enforcement, he said. And sometimes an expensive ticket speeds up the learning curve.

"Some people need that little swift kick in the wallet to remind them not to do what they know is a dangerous behaviour," Porter said.

Over the past several years, there's also been a ramping up of enforcement, although Porter said the number of officers taking part in the traffic unit hasn't increased much.

There were 125 fewer collisions in Thunder Bay last year than in 2013.

That includes about a 25 per cent drop in the number of accidents involving pedestrians.


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