Province considers 110 km/h speed limit for stretch of Trans-Canada
Construction on the highway can slow down drivers for long stretches, but the province says new construction planned will actually speed things up down the road. The province announced $213 million in upgrades for the Trans-Canada Highway west of Winnipeg on Friday.
Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said that lays the groundwork to raise the speed limit. Once upgrades are complete, Ashton said he wants the speed limit raised from 100 to 110 km/h from Winnipeg to Saskatchewan, if it's safe to do so.
Drivers who use this stretch every day say they already drive 110 km/h now, so the speed limit might as well change.
Callum Timings called his daily commute to work from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie repetitive and monotonous. “It's a long straight piece of road where there is not much going on normally,” he said.
He wishes he could make the drive more quickly, so he likes the possibility of increasing the speed limit to 110 km/h.
“You'd be able to get there a bit faster and, (because) you know you're getting there a bit faster, it makes it easier to pay attention to what's going on around you,” he said.
Using money from the PST hike, the Selinger government says it will spend $213 million on upgrades to several sections of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Winnipeg to the Saskatchewan border.
The work includes new bridges, fully paved shoulders, rumble strips and resurfacing, making Highway 1 safer.
“Equivalent to the Interstate in the U.S., equivalent to any highway across Canada,” said Ashton.
Ashton says the upgrades and others already ongoing will allow the province to eventually raise the speed limit.
"It will be one of the end results, people will see, that the Trans-Canada, that's four lanes, will be at a default speed of 110,” he said.
CAA welcomes the move. “The ability to move about through the province in an efficient manner is very important to our members,” said spokesperson Tom Scott.
Not everyone agrees. The Manitoba Trucking Association says higher speeds can have negative consequences.
“For our industry, there's a push on a whole host of fronts to travel at a 100 kilometers per hour or less, one of which is fuel economy, another is safety considerations,” said General Manager Terry Shaw.
Driver Kevin Pauls, however, said hardly anyone drives to the speed limit now anyway. “Everyone's going 110 (km/h) now anyway. This way, everyone can be more honest about the speed limit.”
Right now, you can drive 110 km/h on Highway 1 west of Virden and on the southern section of Highway 75. Ashton said with upgrades previously announced for Highway 75, he hopes 110 km/h will be the default speed for the rest of that route too.
The province says it doesn’t have data on whether people speed more on the sections in Manitoba that have been 110 km/h for a few years. Across Canada, however, research has shown drivers speed on average 8 km/h over the speed limit when it is 100 km/h, but only 2 km/h over when its 110 km/h.
- With a report by Jeff Keele