Two people were injured Monday morning, Sept. 10, when a southbound logging truck rolled over into oncoming traffic on Highway 99. One of the injured was airlifted to Vancouver.
According to reports, the truck rolled over onto two vehicles, sideswiping a pickup truck and dumping its load onto a small Ford. The driver of the pickup was not hurt, but the occupants of the Ford were injured by falling logs. The female driver had extensive injuries to her arm that required surgery, while her passenger was treated at the Whistler Health Care Centre for unspecified but non-life threatening injuries.
The accident closed the highway for more than three hours Monday morning, before it was reopened to single-lane alternating traffic. There was also a short closure on Monday afternoon as crews removed the logs and damaged vehicles from the scene.
The RCMP are investigating the cause of the rollover.
The incident took place on the same stretch of road, just 2 km south of Function Junction, where another logging truck rolled into the path of a northbound bus in February. At least one other logging truck has lost its load in that area over the past two years.
As well, there was another logging truck rollover to the north of Whistler in the spring, with Monday’s incident making it three in the past nine months.
The Sea to Sky Regional Police Service has taken steps since Whistler Council brought the issue of logging truck accidents forward earlier this year, but say they are constrained by resources.
“It was some unfortunate timing in a sense with this latest incident, as we have a commercial vehicle inspector coming up to Whistler for three days later this month to give officers special training,” said Corporal Scott Bowden of Sea to Sky Traffic Services.
The goal is to train officers to stop and inspect commercial vehicles, including logging trucks, and to be able to assess whether loads are properly distributed and secured, as well as to weigh vehicles using portable scales they plan to borrow from the North Vancouver detachment.
But even with additional training for officers, Cpl. Bowden says it is still an issue of manpower.
“We do have plans to increase our day-to-day enforcement, but there are so many levels and areas of enforcement that it is tough to hit all of them,” he said. “However, being mindful of this we’re also in the process of setting up a meeting to try and get as many owners and operators of logging trucks together and go over our concerns. We also want them to know that the enforcement is out there, and is being stepped up.