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Safety upgrades coming to Manitoba highway intersection where elder killed in hit-and-run

An intersection of a busy Manitoba highway is set to undergo safety improvements after a community elder was hit and killed there last spring.

The intersection on Highway 59 that runs through Brokenhead Ojibway Nation will have a new crossing light installed including a pedestrian walkway with push-button controls.

Construction is expected to last through the month, with the light operational in early October.

Brokenhead Ojibway Nation Chief Gordon BlueSky says the safety improvements are long overdue, as the highway was designed before there was a community that surrounded it.

“We have children who cross the highway to go to the park, to go to school. They go to the treaty grounds when we have our Treaty Day celebrations to powwow and so on,” he said.

“We’re really happy to see the province is continuing to keep their commitment to make our highway more safe for our community.”

The speed limit was also reduced in May to 50 kilometres per hour.

BlueSky says they’re also in the planning stage with the province on a full redevelopment on the portion of Highway 59 that runs through their community.

The move comes after a 75-year-old Scanterbury man was hit by a vehicle while walking north on the shoulder of Highway 59 on April 20.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

RCMP said the vehicle that struck the man did not stay at the scene of the crash.

First Nations leaders say their community was having a Jets whiteout party at a nearby schoolyard at the time of the incident.

In the aftermath, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Brokenhead Ojibway Nation called on the province to make safety improvements to the highway, including a speed reduction, proper lighting and safety crossing points on the portion of Highway 59 that runs through Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.

Meantime, RCMP announced last week a 66-year-old man was charged in connection with the hit-and-run.

He was served a summons to appear in court in Selkirk on Sept. 8.

None of the charges have been tested in court.

– With files from CTV’s Kayla Rosen

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