Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Forty years of white-knuckle driving on No. 6

  • Print

DEAR EDITOR,

Your editorial of Aug. 27, Manitoba's highway of death, regarding Highway 6, touched on something that has disturbed many northerners for decades.

Send a Letter to the Editor

  • The Free Press welcomes letters from readers

    To send a letter for consideration on our Letters page: Fill out our online form at the link above, or Email letters@freepress.mb.ca, or Fax (204) 697-7412, or Mail Letters to the Editor, 1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2X 3B6.

Years ago my friend's father broke his neck in a car accident on Highway 6. My former housekeeper's son was returning from university and became a paraplegic in an accident. Good friends of ours rolled their car near Grand Rapids, but were OK.

An old business friend was in an awful accident south of Thompson that required the jaws of life to remove him. I know more than 25 people who have been killed, paralyzed and been in accidents on Highway 6. How many people do you know who have been in accidents on one highway?

People in northern Manitoba have been driving to Winnipeg and back on Highway 6 since 1972. It's the only road out for the communities of Thompson, Gillam, Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids, Norway House, Cross Lake, Split Lake, Nelson House and Wabowden. When the Conservatives were in government 10 years ago, they spent next to nothing on Highway 6 improvements. The NDP deserve credit for making tremendous improvements over the past five years. Yet more improvements for public safety are overdue.

On several occasions my wife and I counted all the semi-trailers travelling the highway between Thompson and Winnipeg. It's usually between 70 and 80. A friend counted 98 on another trip. For an eight-hour trip, that's 10 times an hour you are passing a semi going your way or meeting one from the other direction.

In winter, with snow falling or loose snow at the edge of the road, that's 10 times every hour that a driver may be blinded for seconds by swirling snow.

Winter's short days and night driving with icy road conditions multiply the risk. Travel along No. 6 can be a stressful, white-knuckled eight-hour trip each time.

A few years ago, Manitoba allowed Rocky Mountain doubles to travel Highway 6. The Manitoba Trucking Association argued it was necessary to use double-length trailers for economies of cost.

As a business person, I understand. But who speaks for the safety of the public? I believe Saskatchewan only allows doubles on divided highways. Why is their reasoning different than Manitoba's? Saskatchewan has many single-lane highways with paved shoulders.

Highway 6 still has many miles of shoulders that are too narrow to park on safely. Parked vehicles protrude into the travel lane. I've had to brake quickly when I saw that oncoming traffic would meet me near a parked vehicle and realized the highway is not wide enough for three of us.

Individuals, families and school teams travel No. 6 to Winnipeg each winter for sporting events, medical and shopping trips and holidays. Sometimes the trips can be plain scary. I know many people who refuse to drive to Winnipeg in winter for this reason.

Regardless of what the province says -- "its analysis shows this highway is no more dangerous than other comparable roads in Manitoba," according to your editorial -- I invite someone to do an independent study.

Considering how much revenue the province generates from the North in mining taxes and hydro revenue, there is no reason why the main highway to Thompson and beyond cannot be improved with wide shoulders, paved shoulders and passing lanes. As Manitobans living in the North, we deserve no less.

Volker Beckmann

Thompson

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 7, 2011 A13

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100527-Winnipeg Free Press THe Provencher Foot Bridge is lit up
  • Down the Hatch- A pelican swallows a fresh fish that it caught on the Red River near Lockport, Manitoba. Wednesday morning- May 01, 2013   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will higher pork prices change your grocery-shopping habits?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google