Statistics released by the Insurance Corp. of B.C. have highlighted Fernie and along the Crowsnest Hwy. as the two major places where drivers are most likely to get into traffic collisions in the area.
Fernie recorded 282 crashes in 2019; down from 285 in 2018, and well down from a spike of 383 in 2017.
In each year over the last five, Fernie has consistently accounted for just over half of all the crashes recorded by ICBC in the towns of the Elk Valley (including Elko).
Besides the 282 recorded in Fernie last year, there were another 152 in Sparwood, 68 in Elkford and 44 in Elko for a total of 546 for the immediate region.
That number is the lowest recorded for the Elk Valley in the last five years, but the number of collisions with injuries or deaths has remained stable over the last four years, with the number in 2019 reaching 58 for the region at large.
Fernie saw a dip in collisions with casualties (25 in 2019, down from 32 in 2018), while Sparwood saw a spike over the same period (up to 26 in 2019 from 15 in 2018), making Sparwood the top town for collisions leading to injury or death and not just property damage.
Top six intersections for collisions in the Elk Valley
As the Elk Valley’s largest town, it’s no surprise that the most collision-prone intersections are in Fernie, with the town claiming four of the top six intersections with the most collisions recorded by the ICBC, while five of the six were intersections that included the Crowsnest Highway.
13th Street, 7th Avenue and Crowsnest Highway
Clocking in at 16 reported collisions over the five years between 2015 and 2019, this busy intersection is consistently in the top five intersections for collisions in Fernie each year.
Its ugliest year was 2016, when there were five recorded collisions. In that year however, 4th St and 7th Avenue and Crowsnest Highway was the most collision-prone intersection with seven recorded.
Crowsnest Hwy and Dicken Rd
Equal first for collisions over the period reported was the Crowsnest Highway and Dicken Road intersection where visitors can turn off for the Tourism Fernie offices and information, and locals turn off for the industrial estate north of the town.
Over the five-yer period 16 collisions were recorded there, with half of them recorded in 2017 alone.
Elk Valley Highway and Crowsnest Highway
The intersection between the Elk Valley Highway, where drivers turn off the Crowsnest Highway to head north through Sparwood towards Elkford was yet another equal-first contender for the most collision-prone intersection in the valley, with 16 recorded by ICBCs stats.
This intersection was fairly consistent through the years, with only three collisions recorded each year except for 2015, when ICBC reported four.
9th Avenue and Crowsnest Highway
Returning to Fernie, the 9th Avenue and Crowsnest Highway intersection claimed third place in the entire Elk Valley.
The intersection has plenty of draw, with Tim Hortons and McDonalds right on the corner to attract traffic. 9th Avenue and Crowsnest Highway saw 14 collisions recorded over the five-year period, with five recorded in 2016.
Crowsnest Highway and Mount Fernie Park Road
Heading south, this intersection where drivers turn off for the Mount Fernie Park to the west, or resorts and condo developments to the east recorded 12 collisions between 2015 and 2019, though there were no crashes reported there in 2017 or 2019.
Elk Valley Highway and Sparwood Heights Drive
Another intersection in Sparwood, and the only intersection here that doesn’t involve the Crowsnest Highway, the Elk Valley Highway and Sparwood Heights Drive saw 12 collisions over the five year period.