By Jonas Gagnon
A near fatal accident February 9 has brought renewed scrutiny to the North Road.
Though the accident caused only minor injuries it could have been much worse according to Staff Sgt. Paul Thalhofer.
“It could have been a fatality quite easily,” said Thalhofer.
Around kilometre seven on the North Road a half-ton pick up truck hit the ditch. As another truck tried to pull the stuck pickup out of the snow, an empty logging truck came around a corner coming into town, hit the brakes and couldn’t stop. The empty trailer swung out as the logging truck passed the two trucks and struck the pickup on the road.
The occupants of the pick-up trucks had radioed out on the oft-used frequency that they were impeding traffic, but because the road is not radio-controlled, the driver of the logging truck had not been listening on the radio and hadn’t heard.
Conditions also contributed to the crash.
“It was like a skating rink,” said Thalhofer.
Thalhofer lays little blame on the driver of the truck, giving him the benefit of the doubt.
“All things considered he did pretty well getting through what he did,” said Thalhofer.
Though people are concerned about the conditions of the road YRB maintains that the road is as it should be.
“The road is handling the traffic just fine,” said Didier Brard, the general manager of YRB in Vanderhoof.
The company has received help from the Ministry of Transportation in the form of an extra grader, which puts the number of graders on the road at three.
YRB does have many side roads that they also must maintain though, according to Brard, though he says they are not ignoring the North Road.
“We spend quite a lot of time on the North Road,” said White.
The recently struck transportation committee is aware of the problems on the road.
“Right now I’d say it is a priority,” said Joan Burdeniuk, one of the heads of the transportation committee.
Though the committee is in very early stages they are working on alleviating the problems. They are working with both YRB and the Ministry of Transportation on a solution.
Thalhofer, a member of the committee, is pleased with the progress they have made.
“We’re on the right track now,” said Thalhofer, adding, “We’re being proactive.”
Despite the efforts of all involved Burdeniuk is worried that it will get worse before it gets better.
“They’re anticipating that the haul of the lumber is going to go up,” said Burdeniuk.
With the increase in traffic comes more wear on the road, and more chances for disaster.
Thalhofer is also worried that the increased traffic will see a worsening of road manners.
“I suspect over the next few years you’re going to see more road rage just because of the traffic,” said Thalhofer.