Vancouver viaduct crash elicits calls for change
Published Friday, February 8, 2013 8:04AM PST
Last Updated Friday, February 8, 2013 9:50PM PST
A deadly car crash on the Georgia Viaduct in Vancouver early Friday is sparking new calls to get rid of the bridges altogether.
Three men were travelling east in a white BMW on the viaduct at around 3:00 a.m. when the vehicle failed to turn with the road. It then jumped the curb and hit a pole, then a tree, then landed upside down near Gore Street.
The 22-year-old driver from Burnaby died on scene while the three passengers, between 20 to 24-years-old, remain in hospital in serious and life-threatening condition. No names have been released.
Const. Brian Montague said due to how heavily damaged the car was, speed is believed to be a factor.
Police closed the viaduct for several hours through the morning traffic rush until one lane was returned to service in the morning.
Police say they are not ruling out the possibility of street racing and will be questioning witnesses from another car at the scene.
“We knew the drill because it’s happened before so we called 911 right away,” said Bryce Gauthier, a Strathcona resident. “It’s the second or third time there’s been an accident here right in this area. Cars come so fast and they don’t see the turn.”
The viaduct was originally built to be part of a freeway linking downtown Vancouver to Highway 1, but instead, the road curves abruptly to join Prior Street.
The City of Vancouver said it plans to remove both the Georgia and Dunsmuir Street viaducts. Coun. Geoff Meggs said the change would make the area safer.
“People do come off the viaducts if they’re not paying attention at excessive rates of speeds,” Meggs said. “As a result there’s a lot of danger for people who are trying to work and live in their own neighbourhood.”
But with commuters running reds on Prior Street – and another car hitting a house Thursday morning – locals are saying the city has to do more to calm traffic.
“We’re worried that it’s going to take something like this before the city starts to really pay attention to some of our concerns,” said Pete Fry, a member of the Strathcona Residents’ Assocation.
Fry said he hopes the accident Friday will remind drivers to be more careful in the Strathcona neighbourhood.
With files from CTV British Columbia’s Jonathan Woodward