Waiting in traffic to cross Highway 1 to Highway 8 north.

Highway speed limit to be reduced at Moosomin

August 20, 2018 8:11 am
Kevin Weedmark

The speed limit along the Trans-Canada Highway will be reduced to 80 km/h this fall.

The reduced speed limit will extend from about one half km east of the intersection with East Access Road to on half km west of the junction with Highway 8.

There will be radar speed feedback machines installed on Highway 1 to let drivers know what speed they are actually travelling when they hit the 80 km/h zone.

“Along with the speed limit reduction, MHI will be installing Radar Feedback Signs at the same time,” Steve Shaheen of Saskatchewan Highways said. “The equipment is ready to be installed. We are also looking at other treatments to support the speed limit reduction, including pavement markings.”

The reduced speed limit will be in place in late August, according to the ministry.

“The new speed limit will come into effect once the Radar Feedback signs are installed,” Shaheen said. “We anticipate the signs and radar feedback will be installed by the end of the month.”

The highways department had initially said the reduced speed limit signs would be installed in May, but the installation was delayed because of a planned safety analysis.

“The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure (MHI) has looked into hiring an engineering firm to conduct an additional safety analysis at this location, prior to reducing the speed limit,” Shaheen said.

“The Ministry will be forgoing that study for now in order to proceed with the reduction in speed. The conflict analysis would have provided conflict points at the current speed limit of 110.

Shaheen said the highways department will study the effects of the lower speed limits on the two Highway 8 intersections—Main Street and Highway 8 north.

“At this time, MHI will conduct before and after conflict studies at the two Highway 1 and Highway 8 intersections,” he said.
He said the department is always looking at safety issues at intersections. Concerns about the intersection of Highways 1 and 8 have been raised by a couple of individuals.

“We regularly evaluate all highway intersections, including Highway 1, to address safety concerns that are received from ministry staff, individuals, rural municipalities, communities, the RCMP and businesses,” he said.

“The Ministry of Highways manages a Safety Improvement Program, a provincial program dedicated to safety improvement related projects which will reduce the frequency and severity of collisions. The Safety Improvement Program identifies, evaluates and prioritizes projects equally based on a warrant system.

“Projects commonly delivered through SIP include turning lanes, lighting, flashing lights and other intersection improvements.
“The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure plans for major safety improvements, such as interchanges, through the completion of engineering studies, and we work with developers and communities on these long term planning needs.”

Shaheen said Saskatchewan Highways doesn’t see traffic lights as an ideal solution for busy intersections.

“A traffic signal can have the unintended effect of actually decreasing safety, by increasing the number of high-speed rear-end collisions that could occur on the highway.

“Each location is assessed to determine if its site specific conditions would lend to traffic signals improving or decreasing safety.”
While Highway 8 south of Moosomin carries 2,890 vehicles a day, it does not have the wide shoulders of more major highways, like Highway 9, for instance, which has a traffic count of 730 vehicles a day south of Whitewood.

Shaheen said Saskatchewan Highways doesn’t look at traffic volume, but at safety issues in determining if any changes have to be made.

“The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure routinely conducts a high-level safety screening of the entire highway network. Locations showing a pattern of safety-related issues are studied to identify the cause of the pattern and to identify the most effective countermeasure to address that problem. The recommended improvements are then prioritized.”

On the issue of the truck route around Moosomin to take Highway 8 truck traffic off Main Street, Shaheen said work continues.
“The Town of Moosomin and the RM of Moosomin were involved in the development of a study that looked at options for alternate truck routes around Moosomin, and met with the ministry to discuss goals and concerns regarding the project,” he said.

“The Town and RM have been sent the results of that review. The intent of forming an Alternate Truck Route Partnership can be expressed by the affected municipalities, and once the intent has been expressed, representatives from both MHI and the municipalities can meet to discuss the details of the partnership.

“It was agreed that we would continue to work towards developing an alternate truck route that could also form a portion of an ultimate future bypass.

“It was recognized that the section on the north and west side of Highway 1 and 8 north is getting congested with development and we will collectively have to protect the existing narrow corridor that provides for the realignment of Highway 8 north to the west, to line up with the ultimate location of the west bypass.”