Speed limit lowered temporarily at site of Humboldt Broncos bus crash

A speed limit decrease currently in place at the intersection where 15 people were killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash is a temporary measure, government officials say.

Local municipality asks for rumble strip at intersection as temporary speed limit put in place

The signage was put up on Monday. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC News)

On Wednesday, Dayna Brons died, bringing the death toll to 16. Read the latest here.

A speed limit decrease currently in place at the intersection where 15 people were killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash is a temporary measure, government officials say.

Highway 35 runs from Tisdale to Nipawin, Sask. and is where the bus was travelling when it collided with a semi that was headed west on Highway 335.

Signs have now been placed at Highway 35 and 335 asking drivers to go 60 kilometres per hour instead of the usual 100. It is a temporary safety measure put in place as victims' families, media and others congregate at the crash site. It will be in place as long as it's needed, said Ministry of Highways spokesman Doug Wakabayashi.

Highways Minister David Marit said his ministry's investigation has so far revealed all signage was in its proper place. Asked whether he thinks the intersection is safe, he said yes — if the driver follows the rules. 
A stop sign with a red light was installed after six died at the intersection in 1997. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

"I really believe if you obey the traffic signs, and you stop at the stop sign your sight lines are good for you to see in all directions," said Marit.

Others in Saskatchewan have said the intersection, known locally as Armley Corner, is dangerous and busy with train crossings and a grain depot nearby.

Request for rumble strips

The intersection is within the Rural Municipality of Connaught. At a Monday night meeting of the RM, councillors passed a motion to ask the province to install rumble strips on Highway 335, according to Reeve Art Lalonde. The noise created when tires hit rumble strips is meant to alert drivers to upcoming intersections or speed restrictions.

Lalonde previously told CBC that more needs to be done beyond flashing lights that were added to the Highway 335 stop sign after a fatal crash 20 years ago that killed six people. 
The team bus was travelling northbound on Highway 35. The semi-trailer was coming from the east on Highway 335. The semi had a stop sign and the bus did not. The force of the collision sent both vehicles into the northwest corner of the crossing. Visibility may have been an issue as the patch of trees partially blocks sightlines from the east and south. (CBC )

He said the RM is making a request rather than acting because maintenance of highways falls under provincial jurisdiction.

There have been past instances where the ministry has worked with communities to reduce speed zones, for example on Highway 1 approaching Gull Lake, Marit said.

"I'm very proud of our safety record and what we're trying to achieve here. Is there issues at intersections? Sure there is, and we're working with communities."

Marit said he will wait for the RCMP report on whether there are any highway safety concerns that need to be addressed.

Overall, Marit said the province is doing a good job prioritizing high-traffic areas considering a budget that is not budging this year.

"I think we're doing a good job on the safety side," he said.