Reduced speed limits coming to Garven Road intersection where man died last week

Lower speed limits are on the way for a notoriously dangerous highway intersection where a 24-year-old died last week.

Crossroads has been site of 8 collisions in 3 years, including a fatality Oct. 22

Dan Wischnewski had to be extracted from his SUV after a crash in May 2019 at the intersection of Garven Road and Highway 206. (RCMP)

Lower speed limits are on the way for a notoriously dangerous highway intersection where a 24-year-old died last week.

The Manitoba government announced the upgrades at Garven Road and Highway 206, just north of Winnipeg, at a news conference Friday.

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said the speed limit from north of Oakbank to 300 metres before Garven will soon be reduced to 90 km/h from 100 km/h. The limit will be further reduced to 70 km/h for 300 metres on either side of the intersection, he said.

"It's a real positive thing. It's going to be exactly what we need," said Dan Wischnewski, who narrowly survived a crash at that intersection in May.

"I'm so happy that things are happening, but we're also heartbroken that someone lost their life."

A permanent speed limit reduction requires a regulation change, which has been drafted and is making its way through the regulatory approval process, the province said in a news release Friday. The process includes an opportunity for public comment and will soon be accessible on the Manitoba Regulatory Consultation Portal, the release said.

Wischnewski, who started calling for safety upgrades immediately after his crash, was invited by the province to be part of Friday's announcement, which also included Schuler and RCMP.

Wischnewski's SUV was on Highway 206 when it was hit by a pickup truck that was travelling on Garven, which has a stop sign.

Not too long after Wischnewski began campaigning for changes, the province installed rumble strips in the pavement and installed lights over the stop sign.

But it wasn't enough, obviously, said Wischnewski, who reiterated his safety call after the fatal crash on Oct. 22.

An 18-year-old woman who was in the other vehicle involved in that crash was rushed to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

"When you have a history of major accidents at one particular spot where there's severe accidents and deaths, you have to do something. You can't just wait," Wischnewski said in the days after that collision.

Safety upgrades are coming for Garven Road and Highway 206, just north of Winnipeg. (Google Maps)

The crossroads has been the site of eight collisions in the last three years, including the Oct. 22 fatality, RCMP said.

There were two collisions in which serious injuries were sustained and five crashes involving minor injury or property damage, RCMP said.

"These are often preventable tragedies and we all need to work together to stop further devastation and heartache," said Manitoba RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy.

"We remind all motorists that by reducing speeds, paying attention to the road, obeying traffic signs and signals, and by driving to conditions, we keep ourselves and everyone around us safer."

Wischnewski wrote the infrastructure minister a letter after last week's fatality — and posted it on social media — urging changes.

"It is absolutely critical action is taken immediately before another life is lost," Wischnewski's letter said. "I am not a traffic safety expert, but what I do know is what we have now is not working."

Friday's announcement comes shortly after Schuler said big changes are also coming to a south Winnipeg intersection where a 19-year-old man died in a crash on Oct. 25.

The man's vehicle was hit from behind by a semi-trailer truck on the Perimeter Highway at Brady Road. The impact pushed his car into another large truck.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

By fall 2020, Brady Road is expected to be disconnected from the Perimeter Highway and linked to Waverley Street with a side road, Schuler said.

That change is part of a set of upgrades to the south Perimeter Highway the province announced last year.


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