Manitoba plans roundabout for Trans-Canada Highway
'It remains one of the more dangerous intersections in our province,' premier says
A roundabout will be built at the intersection of the Trans-Canada and Yellowhead highways, west of Winnipeg.
The provincial and federal government are partnering to build a roundabout at the intersection west of Portage la Prairie, Premier Brian Pallister announced Thursday.
The junction of Highways 1 and 16 in Manitoba is the convergence point of two major east-west corridors in western Canada. Despite the use of traffic lights and new signs, it's been the site of many serious crashes in recent years.
"It remains one of the more dangerous intersections in our province. We've seen some tragedies there," Pallister said.
Three people have died in the past five years, he said.
"But we've also seen 22 traffic accidents which could have resulted in many more deaths and did result in many injuries," he said.
The concept of a roundabout on the highway system has already been tested in Manitoba.
The province built a roundabout two years ago, where Highways 2 and 3 meet near Oak Bluff, just outside Winnipeg's southwest perimeter.
"That was a dangerous intersection. The roundabout, I can tell you, has worked," Pallister said. "The intersection has not had a serious accident since that roundabout was put in place."
Provincial officials said research shows roundabouts reduce fatal collisions by nearly 90 per cent and injuries by as much as 76 per cent, while being less expensive to maintain than traffic signals.
Vehicles also pass through at significantly reduced speeds, which lessens the severity of any crashes that do happen.
A study will be launched immediately with a design for the new roundabout to be ready by October 2020. Opportunities for public feedback will follow that before shovels hit the ground by next spring, Pallister said.
"People have talked about this project for decades. It's going to proceed now."
Matt Wiebe, the NDP's infrastructure critic, pointed out that it actually won't proceed "now" but rather next year. He then criticized the government for failing to take more immediate action to create jobs.
"Today the premier failed to announce any investments in infrastructure projects for this year. A study will do nothing to make up for the thousands of jobs the premier cut in the middle of the pandemic," Wiebe said in a statement.
"Rather than wasting time, the province should be working with Manitoba's construction industry to immediately start projects that create good jobs and boost our economy."