The reeve for the RM of Macdonald said he’s pleaded with the provincial government for years to have an overpass built at the intersection of McGillivray Boulevard and the Perimeter Highway — the site of another fiery collision this weekend.
“The amount of traffic at that intersection is phenomenal and accidents happen all the time there — more people are just going to get killed,” Rodney Burns said. “It’s beyond my belief with a busy highway like that something hasn’t been done there.”
RCMP Cpl. Larry Dalman of Headingley traffic services said Monday the police were still investigating the collision involving a pickup truck and moving van that shut the Perimeter Highway at McGillivray Boulevard in both directions for about six hours Sunday. The collision occurred about 1 p.m.
Burns said he’s spoken with the minister of infrastructure and transportation as well as highway personnel several times about improving the intersection. Burns said there are plans for an overpass to go in but he said the government has never been willing to put a timeline on it.
“They always fall back on it’s too costly,” Burns said.
Burns said he will address the issue at the municipality’s next meeting on July 10.
“Sunday’s collision is a perfect example of a serious accident where it was amazing no one got killed. This collision is another call for the government to get this thing fixed,” Burns said.
In Sunday’s crash, the driver of the pickup truck was taken to the Victoria General Hospital with minor injuries. Dalman said both drivers and the one passenger in the moving van were lucky to escape without serious injuries.
“The pickup truck was going in towards the city of Winnipeg, the moving truck was heading eastbound on the Perimeter, and the collision happened mid-lane,” Dalman said.
Dalman said the moving van spun the truck around, climbed the curb, caught fire when the diesel tanks opened and proceeded down the highway burning.
“The moving van melted to the ground and parts of the highway were damaged because of the intense flames,” Dalman said.
Dalman said the accident is one of many he’s responded to at the intersection over the years.
“For every accident, there’s probably 10 times the number of close calls where it’s just sheer luck more people haven’t been involved in a collision,” Dalman said.
Dalman said a big problem at the intersection is the merger of several lanes of traffic, including Highway 3.
In 2005, a 21-year-old man was killed in a head-on collision when he started driving in the wrong lane.
He also said drivers seem to be in a big hurry and rather than slamming on brakes when they see the warning light, they often choose to barrel through the intersection.
“The traffic we’ve seen out on the highway this weekend is unbelievable and it’s only the beginning of summer holidays. People need to remember there’s all kinds of people now out on the highways,” he said.
A spokeswoman for CAA Manitoba, Jeanie Dalman, said the roads around Kenaston and McGillivray area weren’t developed to handle the amount of growth the area is experiencing. The increased traffic is creating more confusion among drivers, she said.
Ron Lemieux, the provincial infrastructure and transportation minister, could not be reached for comment.