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This article was published 23/3/2018 (794 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It won’t be long until drivers in the Oak Bluff area will have to negotiate a roundabout.
Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced Manitoba’s first roundabout on a provincial highway on March 22.
The roundabout is meant to slow traffic heading east and west on Highway 2 and north and south on Highway 3. According to the government, approximately 10,000 vehicles pass through the intersection each day.
This intersection has been the scene of many collisions and the RM of Macdonald council asked the province to come up with a plan to make it safer.
"The volume of traffic has created long lines as well as unsafe merging and crossings. This roundabout is the product of a thorough design process, taking into account speed, driver comfort, future growth and oversized loads," Schuler 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 as compared to traffic signals.
Macdonald reeve Brad Erb lives and farms near the intersection and said any change is an improvement.
He expressed concern that the circle’s design must be capable of accommodating the many large semi trailers and pieces of farm machinery that regularly travel through the intersection.
Morris MLA Shannon Martin said that this type of traffic control design is common in Europe and the U.S. but acknowledges that it will be unique for rural Manitoba.
"Roundabouts are new here, but in terms of safety they’re a big step forward," Martin said.
The provincial traffic engineers decided against installing traffic lights at the intersection because the goal is to slow traffic in a safe manner, not stop it.
Construction is set to begin in the late spring after road restrictions are lifted. Vehicles travelling in the area will have to take a detour.
Erb said the land that will be used for the roundabout is owned by the provincial government.
Schuler also announced that Manitoba Infrastructure will consult with stakeholders, including municipalities, residents and other users to review plans for improving safety on the Perimeter Highway at uncontrolled intersections from Portage Avenue on the west to Fermor Avenue on the east, as well as other safety concerns along this section of highway.
Martin, who lives in La Salle and regularly uses the south Perimeter is pleased about the upcoming discussions with municipal officials and the public on ways to enhance safety along this stretch that is used by about 30,000 vehicles daily.
He said another high-accident intersection at Highway 3 and the south Perimeter in Oak Bluff will be part of the public consultation.
Martin said he hopes some short-term solutions will be identified and implemented prior to a long-term reconstruction of the Perimeter Highway.
Community journalist — The Headliner
Andrea Geary is the community journalist for The Headliner. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org Call her at 204-697-7124