Work is underway to divide a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway in Headingley, just west of Winnipeg, that area residents and motorists say is dangerous.
Reconstruction has begun on the 1.7-kilometre section of highway in the Rural Municipality of Headingley, between the Husky-Coverall intersection and the intersection where the John Blumberg Complex is located, the Manitoba government announced Tuesday.
The work will include adding a raised median, building three-metre-wide paved shoulders with rumble strips, constructing service roads, and installing improved signage and lighting.
"I think it's a great idea," said Jodi Jamieson, who works at an inn along the highway.
"There's been way too many people killed going up and down the highway. With just the truck traffic alone that we have going up and down the highway, it's a hazard to a lot of people."
Last month, a 21-year-old man died following a head-on crash between a semi-trailer and a pickup truck along that stretch of the Trans-Canada.
An Edmonton man who drove the semi-trailer was charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death in connection with the crash.
Headingley Mayor Wilf Taillieu told CBC News that municipal officials have long been calling on the province to divide the twinned Highway 1 with a barrier all the way to Winnipeg.
"There's literally been hundreds of accidents on that road since 2002," Taillieu said on June 23.
"People are frightened. They're afraid to use the highway. Many people bypass it entirely."
It's estimated that at least 20,000 vehicles pass through the area daily, and Taillieu said that number is growing.
Greg Bosch, who lives near the Trans-Canada, said it's about time the highway gets some safety-related improvements.
"In the last 10 years, this highway's probably doubled in business," Bosch said.
"It's getting worse and worse all the time. It's far too busy."
The construction work will also include turning lanes and signal lights that will provide access to the planned Headingley Business Park.
The work will be completed next year, according to the province.
Officials say there will be no detour during construction and motorists should expect delays.