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SFX asks province for study on highway fence

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St. Francois Xavier council is awaiting a response to its request for a traffic safety study on a fence located on the median of the Trans-Canada Highway near the junction of PTH 26.


According to the municipality, the plastic fence was originally placed along a curve in the highway to reduce headlight glare from vehicles driving in the opposite lane.


However, according to municipal fire chief George Dayton, the fence causes snow to accumulate in the eastbound passing lane and has caused six major accidents. He outlined his concerns in a note to council.


Reeve Roger Poitras signed a letter to Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton in which he stated that, on Feb. 18, a car hit a snow drift in the eastbound lane of the TransCanada Highway, lost control and resulted in an accident involving four tractor-trailers and 12 cars.


"The fire chief is strongly of the opinion that the fence . . . caused a wind shadow which led to the snow drift which led to the accident," he wrote.


He ended the letter with a request that the department run a traffic safety study and consider removing the fence in the winter months.


A statement from Infrastructure and Transportation confirmed the fence was erected as a glare screen to prevent headlights from blinding oncoming traffic.  


"Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation will review the collision history at this site, in consultation with the RCMP, to determine the extent of any problem . . . Strategies will be investigated to resolve any problem or problems that are identified."

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