I’ve been a resident of Burns Lake for about four weeks now and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll likely get into a traffic accident at the corner of Hwy. 16 and Francois Lake Drive at some point during my stay.
That intersection is a nightmare.
With a limited and haphazard watch I’ve already seen one hit-and-run collision.
I also almost T-boned a car myself in front of the Chevron station while driving from work on Third Avenue to Balmoral Plaza.
Driving west on Hwy. 16 a motorist has the option of going straight into the Chevron station or turning right that keeps the vehicle on the highway or turning left onto Francois Lake Drive.
Motorists driving east on Hwy. 16 have the option of driving straight onto Francois Lake Drive or heading left on the road and proceeding down the highway.
Vehicles that approach the intersection from Francois Lake Drive can only turn right onto Hwy. 16, or as Balmoral Plaza owner Randy Hamp explained to village council last month, use the shopping mart parking lot as a drive-thru to turn left onto the highway.
In all of this congestion, there is a speed display sign halfway down the hill leading into the heart of Burns Lake, but there are no yield signs, stop signs or traffic signals.
It’s an accident waiting to happen.
As reported in the Sept. 24 edition of Lakes District News, council is considering its options to improve the intersection such as reopening the corner of Hwy. 16 and Francois Lake Drive to left turns.
That may help reduce the traffic through the Balmoral Plaza parking lot, but would increase the flow of traffic through the intersection.
I believe at the very least there should be an elimination of the direct entrance into the Chevron station by vehicles coming down the hill into the heart of the village. There should also be three stop signs or traffic lights at each point of the T-shaped intersection.
That concrete island that forces cars to turn right onto Hwy. 16 off Francois Lake Drive is useless and should be removed entirely.
Late this summer a group of volunteers with the Northern Brain Injury Association completed a road safety study of the intersection to identify its problems and the unsafe practices of the drivers that travel through it.
They found there were 400 to over 800 vehicles that passed through the intersection each hour depending on the time of day.
Some of the infractions the group took note of included motorists failing to signal before they entered or left the highway and people completing unsafe U-turns at the intersection
If a complete stop is erected at the three corners of the intersection there can be normal crosswalks where residents walking or biking from the Home Hardware to the CIBC or from the A&W to the Chevron station will feel safer about doing so.
A common sense solution is needed for this problem.
It involves at least three stop signs or traffic lights.