Why Tranquille Valley residents say winter conditions aren't the only hazard on this notorious road - InfoNews

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Why Tranquille Valley residents say winter conditions aren't the only hazard on this notorious road

Gronberg says that he takes photos when he passes cars that have driven off the road, including this van.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Robert Gronberg
January 07, 2020 - 6:30 PM

We all know driving in winter conditions can be the worst, but for one community in Kamloops, their issues aren't about individual snowstorms — it's a constant issue.

Roads in Kamloops and the Okanagan are terrible after a snowstorm rolled through Monday, with a bus in a ditch in Kelowna and a person trapped in their car after running off the road near Cherry Creek.

But Robert Gronberg, president of the Tranquille Valley Community Association, says 25 vehicles have already driven off Tranquille Criss Creek Road in the past 30 days.

“In the last week or so driving home from work, I’ve passed a tow truck pulling a car out that’s rolled over or smashed just about every day,” Gronberg says.

Gronberg says the 90-year-old man who was found dead in his car this morning had run off the same road which he drives every day.

Staff Sgt. Bill Wallace with the Kamloops RCMP Rural Detachment says the deceased was found on the 7000 block of Tranquille Road, which is about five kilometres from the beginning of Tranquille Criss Creek Road.

“Winter season has only begun, and last year we had 35 (vehicles drive) off, “ Gronberg says. “Now, we’ve got a fatality on the road because of road conditions.”

Gronberg says one of the worst corners on Tranquille Criss Creek Road is at the 27-kilometre mark. He says three plow trucks have gone off the road there this winter season due to slick conditions and a tricky embankment.

Gronberg captured this photo of a plow and sanding truck that went off Tranquille Criss Creek Road at the 27-kilometre mark and was left there.
Gronberg captured this photo of a plow and sanding truck that went off Tranquille Criss Creek Road at the 27-kilometre mark and was left there.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Robert Gronberg

“The plow truck was stuck for three days on kilometre 27. They took two big haulers to take a loaded sanding plow truck out of the ditch, in the same place that they wrecked another one a few days before that, so they had three plow trucks in that same area, and we’ve already complained that that corner is deadly,” Gronberg says. “He wrecked the underbelly of the plow so bad, so they thought he couldn’t use the plow anymore so he dumped the load on the hill.”

Gronberg says community members make calls almost daily to the Thompson Nicola Regional District and Ministry of Transportation about the dangerous conditions. He says some community members have radios and discuss the road conditions before driving, and some have grown so tired of the conditions that they have decided to live somewhere else.

“We pulled three out in one morning on the way to work,” Gronberg says. “I have to work every day. No matter how bad the road is, I have to drive in… a few of the people are moving because of the road conditions.”

Gronberg says the road is lacking adequate signage to warn of the dangerous conditions, which often means first-time road users are unprepared for the conditions.

“In the wintertime, we have a good amount of tourists coming up because they’re going ice fishing and they don't know the roads so they’re driving up like it’s a normal road, and it’s not.”

Even for those who use the road every day, they still struggle with the dangerous conditions. In early December, Gronberg witnessed a woman crash her truck while she had her children in the car.

“We were coming down the hill and she hit black ice, and instead of going over the bank, she went into the bank on the other side. She was crying pretty good… she was on her way to drop her kids off to school or to daycare.”

Gronberg says black ice on Tranquille Criss Creek Road was the cause of this rollover.
Gronberg says black ice on Tranquille Criss Creek Road was the cause of this rollover.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Robert Gronberg

Gronberg had previously called on the Ministry of Transportation for barricades to be installed but to no avail. He says the community credits some of the tricky conditions to a lack of road maintenance in the warmer months.

“One of the reasons they’re having this problem is that they didn’t have the road graded before it froze… when you’re coming down it now, you hit the bumps and then you’re on black ice,” Gronberg says. “The black ice is so bad one day that just driving straight, the truck started to drift. I straightened out but an 80-year-old guy, he ended up on the roof and flipped right over into the ditch.”


To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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