Roundabout coming to major Manitoba highway intersection

Click to play video: 'Roundabout coming to major Manitoba highway intersection' Roundabout coming to major Manitoba highway intersection
WATCH: The province said Thursday the roundabout to be built near Oak Bluff will be a first for a provincial highway network. Global's Amber McGuckin reports. – Mar 23, 2018

A roundabout will be built at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 3 just south of Oak Bluff.

The province said Thursday it will be the first roundabout to be built on a provincial highway network.

“There have been a number of concerns related to this intersection,” Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said in a statement.

“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 over-sized loads.”

About 10,000 vehicles pass through the area daily.

RELATED: Driver killed in Highway 3 collision near Oak Bluff

The province said roundabouts reduce fatal crashes by as much as 90 per cent, and injuries by 76 per cent.

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Many semi truck drivers Global News spoke to, voiced their concerns about the roundabout.

“Lights or stop sign is good, a roundabout is very difficult,” Terry Singh said. “Most people have no knowledge of how to drive on the roundabout.”

Other truck drivers worried about navigating the space with small vehicles, since so much of the traffic flow mixes cars and commercial trucks.

“Generally in Manitoba they seem to build roundabouts really small, so for semi trucks it’s not really practical,” Jonathan Zacharias said. “It’s going to be a bit of a learning curve I think coming through there.”

Minister Schuler agreed there would need to be some information presented to the public.

“Clearly there is an education component to this. These are new to Winnipeg, however ladies and gentlemen they’ve had these around the world for generations. We have to learn how to use them, we have to learn how to use them safely,” he said.

RELATED: Digital warning sign, rumble strips installed at troublesome rural Alberta intersection

Right now at the intersection there are two stop signs that allow traffic onto Highway 3. The two highways intersect with speeds of 70 km/hour and the roundabout will bring speeds down to 10 – 15 km/hr.

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“You come into it, it’s a yield so if you can proceed safely you do so at a slow speed,” Larry Halayko, executive  director of  construction for the province said. “There’s going to be signage, lighting to advantage notice coming into it.”

In the last five years there have been no fatal crashes at the intersection, according to the RCMP but there have been three crashes where people had minor injuries over the past two years.

The Infrastructure Minister also announced the province will be reviewing 26 access points to the south Perimeter Highway — points where there’s only a stop sign directing traffic, not an overpass or lights. Consultations would soon start on safety improvements, starting with uncontrolled access points and median openings.

Construction is expected to start on the roundabout this summer and be completed in the fall.

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