Drivers heading to and from La Salle and Domain on PR 330 and the south Perimeter Highway will have a safer journey in a few years.
According to Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation, safety upgrades at the Perimeter and 330 are now in the design stage as part of a long-term plan to reconstruct the intersection.
Crews are expected to be on-site in the fall of 2014, and it is estimated the project will be completed in 2016. The project includes moving the intersection slightly further to the east, constructing a service road to allow safer access to businesses in the area, and upgrading the intersection with new traffic control lights.
While drivers who regularly use the Perimeter Highway as a fast route around Winnipeg’s outer limits might not be happy about another traffic light to potentially slow them down, La Salle and Domain residents say the current situation is dangerous.
La Salle resident Brian Cornelsen calls the intersection "treacherous and completely unsafe."
"It is nearly impossible for a semi to make a left turn from PR 330 onto PTH 100 during heavy traffic. The proposed revisions to the intersection should be expedited," he said.
Drivers who are heading west on the Perimeter and turning left onto PR 330 must cross two eastbound lanes of often heavy traffic. There is no paved shoulder for eastbound drivers to safely slow down as they turn right from the Perimeter onto 330. These hazards are reflected in the numerous accidents that have occurred at the intersection.
"This topic is one that is often discussed between my husband, Sheldon, and myself," said La Salle resident and former RCMP officer Laurie Peddle. "We feel that the intersection is very unsafe. In fact, Sheldon witnessed an accident there last year. Sheldon and I will often change our route into Winnipeg to avoid making a left-hand turn."
Domain resident Ashley Kovacs said she also avoids taking that route into the city, using a gravel road to Oak Bluff instead.
"There are far too many high speed vehicles on the Perimeter making it nearly impossible to cross, especially at peak times. I do not feel safe turning left onto the Perimeter from Highway 330," she said.
La Salle’s steady growth as a bedroom community is compounding the problem, as more people pass through the intersection on their way to and from work and school.
Longtime La Salle resident Larry Franz said he’s watched the traffic volume increase steadily on the route he takes to and from work.
"Everybody says that it is just a matter of time before someone gets killed there. A moment of inattention or impatience trying to beat the oncoming cars and a T-bone collision will happen," he said.
"Probably putting traffic lights every couple of miles along the Perimeter is not great for through traffic, but something needs to happen at that corner."
A public open house was held in June 2011 at which four options were presented for reconstructing the intersection. Of the 100 people who attended, most chose the option of realigning PR 330 approximately 350 metres to the east of the current intersection and constructing a new section of 330 to the south.