Much has been written lately about the potential for roundabouts in Manitoba as a road safety measure at important intersections, including the Trans Canada Highway and PTH 16, the Trans Canada Highway and PTH 5, and other at-grade intersections.
At the Manitoba Trucking Association, we have safety concerns with this type of intersection:
- Maintenance – Manitoba’s current highway winter maintenance policy dates back to 2012, when it was decided that snow plowing and surface sanding would not take place on a 24-hour basis. As anyone who drives across the Prairies in the winter has seen, snow drifts can build quickly, especially in areas where there are obstructions. By their design, roundabouts are obstructions in the middle of the highway. We have serious concerns related to the ease of use of roundabouts in the winter months in Manitoba due to drifting snow.
- Room to move – Put simply, big trucks need bigger space to move. When a truck and single trailer travel through roundabouts, unless the roundabout is designed properly and with commercial vehicles in mind, commercial trucks and trailers are going to hit the curb and/or take up both lanes of travel. A commercial truck with two trailers is going to require even more space to accommodate its size; per the road safety review conducted by WSP regarding the Trans Canada Highway and PTH 5, “the operational characteristics of long combination vehicles would also need to be considered”.
When done right, roundabouts may have a role to play; however, we have yet to see or hear of a proposal that will accommodate large commercial vehicles, such as long combination vehicles (up to two 53’ trailers pulled behind one truck). We appreciate that the Province of Manitoba has listened to our concerns to date, and we look forward to a solution.
Road safety is the highest priority for members of the Manitoba Trucking Association. We support improved safety measures for at-grade intersections in Manitoba. However, new infrastructure must safely accommodate all road users, including commercial vehicles.