Right in the Centre - Change speed zones now!


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

The past two columns have been about highways within towns. The issue I have with Highways, or Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure, is that they have a hugely difficult process for doing something as simple as changing speed zones. The particular question I have is: Why have they not lowered the speed limit east of Neepawa on Hwy. 16 at the eastern boundary of the town limits? The amount of traffic on that piece of road is going to lead to accidents and possibly death that could well be at a reduced risk of happening if the speed limit was lowered. Currently it is 100 km/hr and that is senseless.

Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure has promised yet another study to see if they will “allow” a speed reduction. In response to one of my earlier columns, a reader emailed me that maybe “some concerned Neepawa citizens could go out and move them at night.” I can just imagine how big a fine that would cause.

It seems that speed limits are not applied fairly or sensibly. Quite correctly, the speed entering Rapid  City, from a long way out is 50 km/hr. But Neepawa is 100.

I asked Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure if the Town of Neepawa was the Traffic Control Authority within the boundaries of the Town of Neepawa. Well, yes and no. Here’s their answer: “Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure (MTI) is the traffic authority for much of the provincial highway network as shown on the attached map.”

When I contacted the government about the map they promised me and didn’t send, they did send it later and I printed it out. Seems that a road is not just a road. They must have complicated categories. 

I am sure you would be interested in knowing that the map shows that just within the Town of Neepawa there are Provincial Trunk Highways (PTH) Declared, Provincial Roads (PR) Declared, Provincial Trunk Highways (PTH) Designated, Provincial Roads(PR) Designated and Grant-In-Aid Streets. Here is how the authority is spread out.

MTI responsibilities  are shown as Provincial Trunk Highway (PTH) “Declared” or Provincial Road (PR) “Declared,” and includes Hurrell Road/Rosedale Avenue Access Road at the north edge of the Town of Neepawa (the Town), PTH 5 north and south of PTH 16, and the road segment in question, PTH 16 east of the south junction of PTH 5 (as well as PTH 16 west of the Town Limits).

The Town of Neepawa is the traffic authority and can set speed limits on municipal roads and some PTH and PR roads within their jurisdiction. The Town of Neepawa is the traffic authority on PTHs and PRs that are “Designated”. On these “Designated” roads, the Town of Neepawa has the authority to set the speed limit(s) including on the portion of PTH 16 that is shown as “Designated” on the attached map.

The legal declaration for PTHs and PRs can be found in the regulations under the Transportation Infrastructure Act available online at https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/t147.php.

That link to the regulations leads one to a 78 page document. Really, 78 pages just to define what a road is basically. Certainly glad that’s all cleared up.

I am certain there are times when a 78 page document, and God only knows how many other pages of rules and regulations along with it, may be necessary. But it’s not as if the Town of Neepawa council (and its citizens) are asking for a four lane overpass or even a set of traffic control lights. All that is being asked is that about four traffic speed limit signs be moved  a few hundred yards down the road. 

Since this column was first drafted, another accident has happened at the junction of Hwy. 5 and 1 near Carberry. Premier Stefanson said after the earlier multi fatality accident that a study would be done as per policy. What the premier and the minister should have said is that while the study was being done, the speed limits would immediately lowered to 80 km/hr. The same statement should be made for Neepawa. The bureaucrats would likely object but I ask, who is in charge anyway, the bureaucrats or the premier? It’s certainly not the citizens and their safety.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.