New ramps to Lewin Parkway not concerning, says minister

Gary Kean
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Ken Kendall is concerned it’s only a matter of time before there is a serious accident near the Lewin Parkway overpass on the Trans-Canada Highway west of Corner Brook.

The provincial Department of Transportation and Works is in the process of putting the finishing touches on twinning the highway through the area.

Part of the project has included the reconfiguration of the on- and off-ramps between the arterial route and the highway. As motorists leave the Lewin Parkway with the intention of heading east on the Trans-Canada Highway, they will find the exit from the highway and the entrance to the on-ramp immediately next to one another.

In the past few weeks, Kendall said he has seen a number of vehicles incorrectly entering the off-ramp and ending up driving west in the eastbound lane of the highway.

“On June 13, I met four vehicles going westbound in the eastbound lane,” said Kendall, who added that he called both the RCMP and the Department of Transportation and Works.

Earlier this week, Kendall said he managed to stop a truck pulling a trailer doing the same thing.

“I spoke to an ambulance driver who said he has seen it happening and I have a friend of mine who said he did it himself,” said Kendall.

There was some signage indicating vehicles were going the wrong way earlier this week. When The Western Star went to check out the intersection Thursday afternoon, a crew from the Department of Transportation and Works were in the process of putting up more signs in the area.

One large sign on the Lewin Parkway telling drivers to keep going straight to go to Massey Drive or to take a left to go east on the Trans-Canada Highway has been moved so it is now directly in front of the proper exit instead of just before the incorrect one.

“If people take that wrong turn in the nighttime or when it’s foggy, someone is going to get hurt or killed,” said Kendall. “If people who are from here can’t figure it out, I’m sure tourists will be lost.”

Transportation and Works Minister Nick McGrath said he has no concerns about the design of the intersection, saying it is a normal layout for on- and off-ramps and is up to code. He was unaware of any calls received by the department, expressing concerns about the intersection being hazardous.

McGrath expected traffic will flow properly once the job is completed.

“It’s still very new and the lines are not yet painted on the pavement,” said the minister. “We’ve been very proactive making sure we had proper signage up.”

The signs posted in the area are at a lower eye level so they are more easily seen by regular traffic, noted McGrath.

There will be more signs erected until the project is completed to help people navigate through safely.

McGrath could not say when the area will be painted with directional signage on the road itself. He said crews have started to paint, but will be focused on the Trans-Canada Highway first.

“Once the line painting is done, it should make a huge difference,” said McGrath. “Hopefully, when they see a big white arrow pointing one way, they will know they aren’t allowed to go the other way.”



Organizations: Trans-Canada Highway, Department of Transportation and Works, RCMP Department of Transportation and Works.Earlier

Geographic location: Lewin Parkway, Western Star

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Recent comments

  • gord
    July 05, 2014 - 23:11

    It seem as if drivers don't read signage but just go where their instinct tells them. Some get away with this practice while others don't. Here in GFW we have the most simple of overpasses complete with the best ramp system and signage, "Cromer Ave/ TCH". It would just amaze you to watch the drivers who can't get it right and end up on the wrong ramp, stopped, waiting to make an illegal turn across oncoming traffic.

  • Hey You
    July 04, 2014 - 13:27

    How hard is it to realize you are travelling the wrong direction on a twinned highway? Even without traffic, everything will be backwards... wouldn't you wonder why the signs were not facing you? Why there is a lane of traffic next to you on the other side of the median going in the same direction? I think if having an off ramp and on ramp next to one another is this confusing, there are bigger problems resting with the drivers than the design of the road. I have seen this setup across the country countless times, and have *almost* turned in to the wrong road a few times myself, but have always realized as soon as I started that hurm, something isn't right, hold on, wait, oh yea, in general, you keep to the right when driving.

    • bob
      July 04, 2014 - 13:46

      "wouldn't you wonder why the signs were not facing you?".... Agreeed, but if you read the article above, you will note that the signage was being put up yesterday (about a month to late)!! It does not sound like you are familiar with this area either? This section of highway has been open like this since late may. And the signage you talk of was not there. So it is clear, somebody dropped the ball... Also, the new design, is different that what was previously there (of course cause it is now a twin highway). So you can see how some people can get confused quite easily on this new black pavement at night with no lines painted on the road and with no signs... Btw, I too have driven all over Canada, have lived in 5 different provinces, and have never had an accident in well over 1 million miles driven. And I have not seen a road left for so long without being finished as this one was. It was like they did 85% of the work and then went on to work on other projects...

  • llew
    July 04, 2014 - 09:51

    Traffic measures in Corner Brook installed in a confusing and inefficient manner?!?? You don't say!

  • bob
    July 04, 2014 - 08:44

    “We’ve been very proactive making sure we had proper signage up.” Not so! Reactive, maybe? But proactive??? It has been weeks that these new on/off ramps have been in place and there were no signs on many of the intersections on the new ramps. It was dangerous, and I know this area very well! I can only imagine how bad it would be for somebody new to the area traveling through here at night. I travel this way all the time and saw it with my own eyes. I suspect that whoever is giving the misister his information has never been there before. The minister should investigate how he could have received such faulty information. It makes him look bad when he is unwittingly make statements on how everything is up to code when it is plan as day for anyone who has driven through there in the last month, that things were not finsihed, signage was missing (for about a month), and somebody did not finish the job!! This was a open highway.... Just leaving some signs up (for over a year) saying that there is construction ahead (while there was no construction going on for most of that time) is not being proactive. It is just closing the door so that you cannot hear the baby cry... Let them eat cake I guess??