British Columbia

Tragic collision renews calls for safety improvements to Lougheed Highway

The Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart, says changes to Lougheed Highway have long been necessary but physical structures around the area make it 'impossible to widen.'

Coquitlam mayor says changes needed but physical constraints make highway 'impossible to widen'

Four people are in hospital after a multi-vehicle crash on Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday evening. (Bill Cook)

Drivers are renewing calls for safety improvements to the stretch of highway where three people, including two young children, were killed on Friday in a multi-vehicle collision.

Some commuters driving through the intersection of Lougheed Highway and Pitt River Road on Saturday say more needs to be done in the area.

"It's a little narrow, it's not well lit, there's no center divider," said driver Chris Sullivan. "It could use a little bit of sprucing up."

Another driver who says he's in the area regularly called it "a nasty corner."

"I've seen a couple of rear-enders, plus a lot of people try to beat the train," said Chris Trolitsch.

According to ICBC, 27 people were either killed or injured at the intersection in 2015.

'There's simply not enough roadway'

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said the city has been working to improve the road but physical constraints unique to the area have made it challenging.

Train tracks sit on one side of the highway and a hill borders the other side, which Stewart said in combination makes it "impossible" to widen the road.

Even the suggestion of a median won't work because of how narrow the road is, he said.

"We've asked our engineers to contemplate how we could do it ... put a barrier down the middle — but there's simply not enough roadway to accommodate a barrier," Stewart said.

A development application for a nearby mental health facility which includes some roadway improvements is being evaluated by city council on Monday, he said.

He added the city is also considering raising the road by six meters, but a project that significant could take over ten years to complete.

It's an issue he said he's committed to continue working on.

"The whole time I've been elected we've been trying to find a solution, working with the province and the railway and the various other partners," Stewart said.

"It breaks my heart that we weren't able to save that tragedy."

With files from Jon Hernandez