Three municipalities call for Highway 59 south to be twinned
Six days a week Griffin Kissack uses Highway 59 south of Winnipeg to get to work.
He said the rural stretch is bumper to bumper in rush hour.
"She's been packed up. It gets busy after work, it's hard getting home,” said Kissack.
He said it can be risky, especially during winter.
"You got guys coming to a standstill at 70 (kilometres per hour) and you're coming up at them at 100. It gets dangerous especially if you're sliding around, losing traction, stuff like that,” said Kissack.
For years beachgoers and cottagers have been pushing to twin Highway 59 north towards Grand Beach. A similar campaign is on to twin the same highway, south of the city.
St. Pierre Jolys, Niverville and the RM of Hanover are calling on the province to do a functional study on how 59 could be twinned between Ils Des Chenes and Highway 52.
Hanover reeve Stan Toews says traffic is increasing as more people are moving to the area, including commuters to and from Winnipeg.
“The population is growing as well as the traffic,” said Toews.
A 2017 provincial report backs that up.
It shows over ten years how average daily traffic counts on highway 59 near Niverville rose from around 5,000 to 7,400. The report says that’s an annual growth of 220 vehicles per year.
Toews said the area is highly trafficked and there’s been safety concerns over the many accidents on that stretch of highway.
The spokesperson for provincial infrastructure minister Ron Schuler said the province isn't ready to agree to twin it without reviewing all the needs throughout Manitoba.
“Highway 59 is an important route in southeastern Manitoba and as a part of the provinces highway capital planning process Manitoba infrastructure is currently reviewing its major strategic infrastructure priorities. Further investment along this route will need to be balanced with infrastructure investment needs across the province.”
Twinning the highway would likely cost tens of millions of dollars, but Griffin Kissack would still like to see it done.
However, when it comes to the tax dollars that might be needed to pull off the project, he was a bit hesitant.
"That's a hard, a hard question right there, because taxes like you gotta love them and you gotta hate them at the same time,” said Griffin.