Ballam Road barriers get a rough ride from Chilliwack resident Sandy Ritchie. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Ballam Road barriers get a rough ride from Chilliwack resident Sandy Ritchie. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Ballam Road barriers get a rough ride from Chilliwack resident

Barriers installed to keep errant vehicles out of the river, and stop garbage-dumpers

The new barriers along Ballam Road are meant to keep errant vehicles from landing in the Fraser River.

There have been unfortunate incidents over the years on the riverside part of Ballam Road — some fatal, as well as endless trash dumping, and stolen car dumps.

Recent road improvements including paving and the new barriers, will help prevent illegal dumping, which will in turn help protect the river, according to City of Chilliwack officials.

But some locals hold a different view.

“What they’ve done out here is a nightmare,” resident Sandy Ritchie said. “It seems so misguided.”

He’s a former roads supervisor and heavy equipment operator, as well as a leader and volunteer for several sport-fishing advocacy groups.

He hosted The Progress on a tour of the newly paved section of Ballam Road, complete with mini barriers along one side of the road. He thinks the barriers should be moved to the edge of the shoulder.

“In trying to make it safer, they’ve effectively denied everyone access to the river along here,” Ritchie said. “Just two kilometres out of town, this is a jewel of a river spot.”

All of the shoulder is now blocked off. He points to his favourite cutthroat fishing spot not far from Gill Road.

“It’s also the wrong design,” he said about the mini barriers, which should be a larger model known as a “690” barrier. He calls it “cheaping” out.

“Those barriers are not designed for traffic safety. They won’t stop a vehicle sliding on black ice. They will provide a false sense of security.”

There were a number of reasons for paving Ballam Road and putting up barriers, according to city officials. Keeping errant vehicles out of the river is a priority, and that is one reason for installing the barriers.

But another reason is the ongoing work on the Experience the Fraser Trail. The aim is to separate the trail from traffic, which will provide a better experience for trail users, said staff.

They plan to provide parking at the west end of the trail, for about four vehicles, and are planning to put another parking area on the east end of the ETF trail.

Eventually the Experience the Fraser Trail will have more parking areas and amenities.

But for Ritchie, it won’t be the same.

“It’s mean-spirited to cut off access like this.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP don’t want to see you having your vehicle towed away after an aggressive driving infraction. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP hand out more than 500 tickets in aggressive driving crackdown

Police say they’ll continue to focus on speeding, aggressive and distracted driving

Home sales for November in the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board were profitable for sellers because of historically low supply. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)
Historically low supply leads to higher prices in Chilliwack real estate market

City dwellers want to relocate to the eastern Fraser Valley and are willing to pay a high price

Prolific offender Jonathan David Olson (left) and Brodie Tyrel Robinson, both of Chilliwack, were convicted of several offences in BC Supreme Court in August 2019 in connection to a crime spree on the Canada Day long weekend in 2017.
Dangerous offender designation off the table for Chilliwack gangster

Jonathan Olson found guilty in connection with 2017 crime spree now facing 14 years maximum

Wilma’s Transition Society is having a Christmas Car Give-away. (Wilma’s)
Someone in Chilliwack is set to win a car in a Christmas Give-Away

Fill out an application online with Wilma’s Transition Society until Dec. 14

Protestors with an “End The Lockdown$” sign at Science World in Vancouver on May 3, 2020. (Desire Amouzou photo)
OPINION: On individual rights versus community health

Using freedom as an excuse to gather in this pandemic illustrates a staggering degree of selfishness

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

Most Read