“The construction of a roundabout at the intersection of PTH 2 and PTH 3 south of Oak Bluff and a consultation on interim safety improvements for the south Perimeter Highway will ensure Manitobans are better protected on major highways in the province, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced today.
“There have been a number of concerns related to this intersection,” said Schuler. “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.”
The minister noted this will be the first roundabout on the provincial highway network and will help manage the traffic of approximately 10,000 vehicles every day. 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. The project will go to tender this spring and is expected to be complete later this year.”
For all but a few years of my life I have been rolling through this intersection, first in my father’s car and lately in my own. It has been uneventful. Apparently, though, at peak periods it’s a mess. To solve the problem the government intends to create a “traffic circle” aka “roundabout”.
To some this is not a problem. Every few blocks they encounter them and everyone knows the rules of the road. However, I’ve only been in traffic circles three times in my life and I expect it’s dangerous to have me mentally reviewing what to do as I approach one full of traffic of similarly confused drivers. In Winnipeg, my nearest city, I think I’ve only seen one roundabout. Previously, I saw one in some town in Saskatchewan. I really don’t remember which. These were decades apart.
A refresher from the Manitoba Driver’s Handbook:
“When approaching a roundabout you will see this roundabout sign.
Reduce your speed to the posted speed limit or slower and be prepared to yield to pedestrians/cyclists and vehicles in the roundabout. When no traffic is approaching from the left you may proceed into the roundabout. When on the roundabout you have the right-of-way over vehicles entering, continue until you reach the street you wish to exit. Signal your intentions to exit before you reach the street you wish to exit onto. As you exit, watch for pedestrians within the pedestrian corridor and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians/cyclists.”
Chuckle. What could possibly go wrong?
Anyway, there is abundant research proving these things are safer. I don’t doubt that, but when this is the first one, ever, on Manitoba’s highway system, I think there will be a period of adjustment. 🙁 I wonder how many fenders will be bent in the process?