Local officials concerned about safety of intersection 0
Portage la Prairie MLA Ian Wishart as seen at the intersection of Trans-Canada Highway and Yellowquill Trail on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. He is worried about safety at the intersection in light of Thursday’s fatal collision. (Angela Brown, Portage Daily Graphic, QMi Agency)
Thursday’s fatal collision at Trans-Canada Highway and Yellowquill Trail was another reminder the intersection is still a dangerous section of the highway for travelers, say local officials.
On Thursday afternoon, a Portage la Prairie woman was killed in an accident when her northbound Toyota collided with a westbound Austin Mini Cooper on Highway 1.
Portage la Prairie MLA Ian Wishart recognizes the intersection has long been an area where a number of accidents and fatalities have occurred.
“There was a lot of discussion when the road was being resurfaced,” said Wishart. “There was talk of closing some additional crossings on the bypass, so that would put even more pressure on that (crossing).”
Currently, there is a stop sign and a flashing red warning light at the approach from Yellowquill Trail to the highway, but not a full set of traffic lights to control traffic.
Wishart said local government pointed out to the provincial government engineers previously that “the intersection had a terrible history.”
“(The Province) are reluctant to do too much to it,” added Wishart. “They did mention the possibility that they may have to put lights there, but they hate to put lights on the Number 1 highway anywhere.”
He explained there was concern that by having traffic lights installed there, that would impede the flow of traffic on the highway.
There are already traffic lights at the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 16, so if another set of lights were installed at Yellowquill Trail also, this would not set a precedent.
“It may need that kind of attention,” said Wishart.
The MLA added any chance of having an overpass constructed seems moot since the area is already behind in getting infrastructure upgrades.
“There are a number of infrastructure needs around Portage,” added Wishart. “That bridge at the west end of town where the bypass comes in isn’t in good condition right now either. We seem to be getting further and further behind.”
However, he said possibly installing lights would be a suitable short-term solution to helping improve the intersection at Yellowquill Trail and Highway 1.
Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie Reeve Kam Blight is also worried about the intersection.
He said while the Province has done some work paving, cleaning away some trees and improving the sight lines at the intersection at Yellowquill Trail, it does not appear to be enough.
“It’s a terrible tragedy again, “ said Blight of Thursday’s fatal collision at that intersection. “It is definitely a dangerous crossing. We continue to urge people to use extra caution in crossing and passing that intersection.”
The Reeve said he doesn’t want to see any more traffic funneled to that route. That was one of the chief reasons he was opposed to the Province closing more access roads to the highway.
“Something has to be done with that (intersection), and an increase in the traffic flow is not the answer,” said Blight.