B.C. boosts speed limits up to 120 km/h on highways, including Island

B.C. motorists soon will be able to drive faster on some rural highways despite fears by police that raising speed limits will increase the frequency and severity of crashes.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone announced Wednesday that the government plans to boost speed limits on 35 sections of highway covering 1,300 kilometres.

article continues below

The speed limit will jump to 120 kilometres an hour from 110 on some divided multi-lane highways, including a 114-kilometre stretch of Highway 19 from Parksville to Campbell River.

“When speed limits are set appropriately, they encourage safe driver behaviour,” Stone said.

The changes, which will be phased in over the summer, follow provincewide consultations and technical assessments of 9,100 kilometres of rural highways.

The review found people in most regions supported increasing speed limits, with 55 per cent of participants on Vancouver Island backing the changes.

Stone said the public tended to support changes on highways where most drivers already travel well above the posted limit

“The majority of the recommended increases are limited to an additional 10 km/h, which will bring the speed limit in line with actual travel speeds,” he said.

Other speed-limit changes on Vancouver Island include:

• Three sections of Highway 1 between Cowichan Bay and Nanaimo Airport that will increase to 90 km/h from 80 km/h.

• A 44-kilometre stretch of Highway 19 from Campbell River to Sayward that will increase to 100 km/h from 90 km/h.

• A 35-kilometre stretch of Highway 19 from Port McNeill to Port Hardy that will jump to 100 km/h from 80 km/h to 90 km/h.

The RCMP and the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police oppose the increases.

“We still see speed as one of the potential contributing factors to the cause of fatalities on our roadways,” said Metro Vancouver Transit Police Chief Neil Dubord, who chairs the chiefs’ traffic safety committee. “Given our concern for public safety, it makes sense that we would like to see [the limits] stay stable.”

The B.C. Trucking Association also cited safety concerns as one of the reasons its members are unlikely to let their trucks to go faster.

Louise Yako, association president, said most companies generally restrict truck speeds to between 90 km/h and 100 km/h. Operating at higher speeds uses more fuel, boosts greenhouse gas emissions and increases the risk of crashes, she said.

“The faster you go, the longer it takes to stop, and, when you’re sharing the road with drivers who don’t always know how to operate around trucks, you want to be able to take evasive action as quickly as possible,” she said.

Stone said safety remains the government’s top priority as well. But he noted that serious crashes have dropped by 28 per cent since 2003. The decrease stems from improvements in vehicle technology and safety, heightened enforcement, increased penalties and major road upgrades, he said.

The government review also uncovered widespread concern about slow-moving vehicles on Highway 4 between Parksville and Tofino/Ucluelet. As a result, the province plans to test a new sign on Highway 4 that will instruct drivers to use pullouts if they are holding up more than five vehicles behind them.

lkines@timescolonist.com

A full list of highway speed changes by the B.C. government


Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon


• Highway 1 Whatcom Road (Exit 95) to junction with Highway 3 (74 km)

New speed limit: 110 (in effect today)

Previous speed limit: 100

• Highway 1 East of Lake of the Woods Rest Area to Boston Bar (55 km)

Current speed limit: 80, 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 1 Boston Bar to Falls Creek (24 km)

Current speed limit: 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 7 Vehicle pull-out west of Haig Scale, Agassiz to Highway 1 junction, Hope (5 km)

Current speed limit: 90, 100

New speed limit: 100



Sea to Sky


• Highway 99 Eagle Ridge Interchange, Horseshoe Bay to south of the Stawamus River Bridge near Squamish (35 km)

Current speed limit: 80

New speed limit: 90

• Highway 99 North of Depot Road, Squamish to Function Junction, Whistler (45 km)

Current speed limit: 80, 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 99 South of Whistler Heliport Road to Pemberton Boundary (21 km)

Current speed limit: 80

New speed limit:90

• Highway 99 East of Lillooet near the Pavilion Lime Plant to the Highway 97 junction (22 km)

Current speed limit: 90

New speed limit: 100
 


Vancouver Island

New Vancouver Island speed limit zones

• Highway 1 Three 80 km/h sections between Bench Road, Cowichan Bay and Beck Road, north of the Nanaimo Airport (totalling 10 km)

Current speed limit: 80, 90

New speed limit: 90

• Highway 19 Parksville to south of Willis Road, Campbell River (114 km)

Current speed limit: 110

New speed limit: 120

• Highway 19 Duncan Bay Road to Menzies Road, Campbell River (4 km)

Current speed limit: 80

New speed limit: 90

• Highway 19 Campbell River to Sullivan Road, Sayward (44 km)

Current speed limit: 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 19 North of Campbell Way, Port McNeill to Douglas Street, Port Hardy (35 km)

Current speed limit: 80, 90

New speed limit: 100



Southern Interior


• Highway 1 Six Mile Rest Area near Tobiano to Savona (12 km)

Current speed limit: 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 1 Chase to Hilltop Road, East of Sorrento (25 km, excluding 60 km/h section through Sorrento)

Current speed limit: 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 1 Canoe (near Salmon Arm) to Highway 23 South, Revelstoke (58 km, excluding 60 km/h section through Sicamous)

Current speed limit: 90, 100

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 1 Highway 23 North, Revelstoke to Anderson Road, Golden (101 km, excluding parks)

Current speed limit: 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 3 Start of Highway 3 (Exit 170) to junction with Highway 5 Coquihalla (7 km)

Current speed limit: 100

New speed limit: 110

• Highway 3 Sunshine Valley to Manning Park East Boundary (33 km)

Current speed limit: 80, 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 3 Sunday Summit to Whipsaw Creek, west of Princeton (22 km)

Current speed limit: 80

New speed limit: 90

• Highway 5 Hope (Exit 177) to Othello Road (4 km)

New speed limit: 110 (in effect today)

Previous speed limit: 100

• Highway 5 Othello Road, near Hope to Highway 1 junction, near Kamloops (200 km)

New speed limit: 120 (in effect today)

Previous speed limit: 110

• Highway 5 Heffley to Little Fort (67 km, excluding 60 km/h section through Barriere)

Current speed limit: 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 5A Old Hedley Road, north of Princeton to Highway 97C junction (36 km, excluding 70 km/h section through Aspen Grove)

Current speed limit: 80

New speed limit: 90

• Highway 6 New Denver to Purdy Road, north of Hills (15 km, excluding 70 km/h section through Hills)

Current speed limit: 80

New speed limit: 90

• Highway 6 Purdy Road, Hills to Upper Brouse Road, Nakusp (22 km)

Current speed limit: 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 33 South of Gallagher Road to McCulloch Road (32 km)

Current speed limit: 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 33 North of Highway 3 junction, Rock Creek to Westbridge (12 km)

Current speed limit: 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 97 North of Willow Drive, 70 Mile House to BCR Overpass, 100 Mile House (37 km)

Current speed limit: 100

New speed limit: 110

• Highway 97 Gatzke Road, north of Oyama to College Way, south of Vernon (16 km)

Current speed limit: 90

New speed limit: 100 - Pending completion of engineering assessment to determine if median barriers are required before implementation of the new speed limit.

• Highway 97 Highway 97A junction near Swan Lake to Westside Road (6 km)

Current speed limit: 80

New speed limit: 90

• Highway 97A north of Smith Drive, Armstrong to Highway 97B junction, Enderby (18 km excluding 50 km/h section through Enderby)

Current speed limit: 90

New speed limit: 100

• Highway 97A Highway 97B junction, near Grindrod to Sicamous (33 km, excluding 50 km/h section through Grindrod)

Current speed limit: 80

New speed limit: 90

• Highway 97C Merritt to Aspen Grove (22 km)

Current speed limit: 100

New speed limit: 110

• Highway 97C Aspen Grove to Drought Hill Interchange, Peachland (78 km)

New speed limit: 120 (in effect today)

Previous speed limit: 110

— with a file from the Vancouver Sun

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist


Find out what's happening in your community.

Most Popular