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

It’s the Valley Huskers (left) and the Regina Riot (right) in the final of Football Canada’s online logo contest.
Valley Huskers face Regina Riot in final of Football Canada logo contest

Vote in the online poll to see the scarecrow named the best amateur football logo in the country

A ambulance drives past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
9 Lower Mainland hospitals to postpone non-urgent surgeries as hospitalizations surge

Record number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals across B.C.

(File)
Two injured in rollover crash on Seabird Island

One treated for serious, non-life threatening injuries

Letisha Reimer, 13, was killed Nov. 1, 2016 in a stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
UPDATED: Second-degree murder conviction stands for Abbotsford school killer

Judge finds that Gabriel Klein is criminally responsible for death of Letisha Reimer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

Memorial for Travis Selje on 64th Avenue in Cloverdale, west of 176th Street. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Epilepsy-defence driver found not guilty in crash that killed Surrey teen Travis Selje

Accused testified she has no recollection of the crash and believes she had an epileptic seizure that caused the collision

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

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

Firefighters carry equipment from the scene of Monday’s Willoughby fire. The April 19, 2021 blaze turned the Alexander Square development at the corner of 208th Street and 80th Avenue to rubble. (Rob Wilton/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley Fire: The aftermath of the inferno

The scene remains active as investigators work to determine a cause

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. Carlos Monteith, the man charged in the Clayton shooting, was sentenced April 22 on charges related to a different shooting in New West in November, 2019. (File photo)
Man gets 6.5 years in prison for shooting as he awaits trial for separate Cloverdale slaying

Carlos Nathaniel Monteith sentenced for possessing a prohibited weapon and discharging a firearm with intent

Most Read