New passing lanes in the works

Discussing plans for new passing lanes.

Discussing plans for new passing lanes.

BARRIERE — A significant measure of safety will be added to two high-volume traffic areas on Highway 5 when new passing lanes are constructed.

I attended an open house at the Lions Club in Barriere Thursday (Oct. 15) where the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure unveiled plans, which include a $2-million, two-km. northbound passing lane at Vinsulla in Electoral Area P.

MOTI staff explained that the Vinsulla lane, and another one north of Barriere, will improve safety and mobility by providing assured passing opportunities, reducing driver frustration.

I was told the Vinsulla lane will likely go to tender next spring, with construction completed in 2016. It’s about halfway through functional design, and acquisition of property is underway.

Vinsulla-chartThe Vinsulla stretch is in an area where there are no major intersections or complicated accesses, so it looks to me that the process should go quite smoothly. However, as one MOTI rep said, there are always things to learn during the process.

The proposed lane at Darfield, in TNRD Director Bill Kershaw’s Electoral Area O, looks to be considerably more extensive and complex.

The Vinsulla piece is driven by 5,300 vehicles a day, up to 7,000 during the summer. Between 2010 and 2014 there were five collisions, including three with injuries.

I know there have been many calls for improvements to make Highway 5 safer — including four-laning the entire highway — but I think the MOTI’s approach of working on these high-traffic areas as funds can be budgeted is a reasonable approach.

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