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Highway 59 through Brokenhead Ojibway Nation to see new reduced speeds

When people drive through Brokenhead Ojibway Nation on Highway 59, they will notice speed limits have decreased.

In a pair of posts on the First Nation's Facebook page, Brokenhead Ojibway Nation Chief and Council said after talking with the province, the speed is being reduced to 50 kilometres an hour.

One of the posts Wednesday afternoon said 50 km/hr signs have already been installed along the road.

"Our community safety will be at the forefront of the redevelopment of Highway 59 as we move forward," the post said.

Chief Gordon BlueSky said this move comes with mixed emotions, noting the conversation was spurred after a 75-year-old man was struck while walking on the right-hand shoulder of the highway on April 20.

"It's a bittersweet scenario that we're in, because obviously, we're happy that at least the speed has been reduced," said BlueSky. "But with that being said, of course, the family is still mourning, they're still grieving the loss of their uncle, grandfather, and so on."

RCMP said the driver didn't stay at the scene.

It was also noted that traffic lights will be installed at the Bison Drive East and Anishinaabe Way intersection by the end of summer.

"The province has formally committed to install a traffic light, a controlled intersection at that site, which will also accommodate pedestrian traffic, with the ability to have a push button that would trigger the lights to go red."

BlueSky said he has also asked for better illumination along the highway and would also like to see the road twinned through the community one day.

He said even with these positive changes, he and the community will continue to push for more safety measures.

"We also want Manitobans and Canadians to understand as well, you know, please slow down. We love our children, we love our families and we don't want this tragedy to happen anymore."

In a statement, a provincial spokesperson said road safety is the government's first priority.

"In consultation with Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure agreed to immediately lower the speed limits within the community to 50 km/h. This speed limit change was put in place today, Wednesday, May 10, to try to improve safety along the highway and at intersections in the community," the spokesperson said.

They added discussions for longer-term improvements are planned.

- With files from CTV News' Jon Hendricks, Katherine Dow and Kimberly Rio Wertman Top Stories

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