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‘We are going to do the safest thing’: Manitoba premier eyes three options for intersection where crash claimed 17 lives

The Manitoba government is taking a look at several options including creating a roundabout or U-turn to improve safety at the intersection along the Trans-Canada Highway where a crash last summer left 17 people dead.

During an announcement in Dauphin, Man. Monday afternoon, Manitoba’s Premier Wab Kinew along with Manitoba Infrastructure Minister Lisa Naylor released the findings of the safety review for the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 5 near the town of Carberry.

“We are going to do the safest thing when it comes to the future of this intersection,” Kinew said.

The Manitoba government started the review after a semi-trailer collided with a minibus at the intersection in June. The bus was carrying seniors to a nearby casino. In total, 17 people died at the crash site or later in hospital.

The intersection currently has stop and yield signs for drivers on Highway 5.

The province is committing $12 million for safety upgrades to the intersection based on the findings of the review which recommended several ways to improve safety.

It breaks down several short, medium and long-term options. The full in-service safety review can be read online.

THREE OPTIONS CONSIDERED FOR SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS

Some of the short-term options include repairing the rumble strips leading to the intersection and installing warning signs – something the province says it has already undertaken.

Naylor said new signs have been put up and the pavement markings have also been refreshed.

She also highlighted three medium-term options to improve safety at the intersection: creating a roundabout, widening the median to provide a safe space for vehicles to stop while crossing the highway, or a restricted crossing U-turn or RCUT.

The RCUT would not allow vehicles to cross the highway directly rather they would have to turn onto the highway and then use a U-turn lane.

The province will now begin a functional design study based on the three recommendations. The Premier said this will include public engagement and feedback.

“We’re asking for your input and your advice as we try to choose between these three different scenarios and visions for the future of this intersection,” Kinew said.

“At the end of that process, we intend to make sure that we are constructing the safest possible future vision for that intersection.”

The safety review did take a look at dropping the speed limit, but recommended against it. It says reducing the speed limit could contribute to increased speed differentials and increase the risk of crashes.

“I feel that the process is in good hands, and is going in the right direction,” Dauphin Mayor David Bosiak said of the announcement Monday.

 He said the crash has had a wide impact on the community.

 “Our community will remember this forever,” he said. “Some people, this has changed their life and will be a major significant event.”

PREMIER MEETS WITH SURVIVORS, VICTIMS’ FAMILY

In addition to releasing the safety review, Kinew said he met with survivors of the crash, family members of the victims, as well as the first responders to the crash whom he thanked for their service.

“To the family members and to the survivors, I want to acknowledge that we cannot make things right or make you whole, but we are going to work our hardest to ensure that something like this does not happen again,” he said.

He said the province will also be contributing money to help commemorate the victims of the crash. 

Bosiak said that is welcome news for many in the community who have been calling for a memorial. He said a group of family members had approached Dauphin’s city council months ago about the idea.

 He said the city is supportive of a memorial and is working out the logistics. He said they hope to have something set up in time for the anniversary of the crash.

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