Family of those killed on Hamilton parkway ‘devastated’ to learn of 2013 safety report
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, February 8, 2019 6:28PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 8, 2019 7:18PM EST
The father of a woman killed in a collision on Red Hill Valley Parkway five years ago said he was “devastated and angry” to discover that a City of Hamilton report written in 2013 showed that the roadway was below acceptable standards.
City staff became aware of the report late last year amid a leadership change at Hamilton’s Public Works department. The report, which outlined the results of friction testing on the Lincoln Alexander and Red Hill Valley parkways, found that the friction of the asphalt on Red Hill Valley Parkway was “below or well below” safety standards.
“The overall low levels and the variability of friction values along the length of the Parkway indicate the need for a further examination of the pavement surface, composition and wear performance,” the report reads.
The city issued a public apology on Wednesday, with the mayor saying that staff was “disappointed to learn that this information was not shared with council when it was received.”
“The reaction is dismay and concern and very unhappy the way all of this unfolded, and certainly we have concerns for those that have been impacted on the road and the family that have lost loved ones,” Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger said on Friday.
Jordyn Hastings and Olivia Smosarski were travelling on the Red Hill Valley Parkway in 2015 when their vehicle lost control and crossed the median into oncoming traffic.
“I think the fact that this information was available back in 2013, 18 months before my daughter and her best friend passed away, is astounding,” Olivia Smosarski’s father, David Smosarski, told CTV News Toronto.
Jordyn Hasting’s stepmother, Leony Degraaf-Hastings, echoed his statement.
“Every day we build up a little bit of scar tissue and to have it just ripped open like that without any preparation was tough for all of our family to handle,” Degraaf-Hastings, said.
The family of Aaron Haire and Kristine Williams, who died in a crash on the Lincoln Alexander Parkway in 2014, have advocated for barriers on both roadways mentioned in the report.
In both incidents, police did not find impairment, speed or distraction to be factors in the collision.
”These are big investments,” said Dan McKinnon, the General Manager of Hamilton Public Works. "So that's why we want to do a compressive look. Do the functional design bring back a well thought out program to city council. So we show them he cost of these things and an implementation plan."
After receiving the report, the city immediately changed the highway’s speed limit from 90 kilometres an hour to 80 kilometres an hour. Repair crews are working on the asphalt and the process is expected to continue into the spring.
The city will also be increasing lighting in the area.
About 75,000 vehicles travel on the Red Hill Valley Parkway each day.
With files from CTV News Toronto's Brandon Rowe