REGINA – A deadly crash just outside Balgonie is renewing the call for more safety along the highway.
An 85-year-old man was killed Thursday, when his SUV collided with a semi-trailer that was hauling horses, while he was attempting to cross Highway 1.
The driver of the semi was uninjured, and of the 27 horses, nine died on impact and three more were put down by RCMP on the advice of veterinarians on scene.
Leone Petford is a longtime resident of Balgonie and said she was saddened but not surprised to hear about the crash.
One man dead after collision with horse transport
“There’s always an accident there, at least one or two a year. They have to do something about it before there’s more killed,” she added.
Sgt. Paul Dawson with the White Butte RCMP detachment said that even one fatality is too many.
“On that small stretch of highways, from the highway 10 overpass to the north Regina extension, we’ve had three fatalities since 2009,” explained Dawson.
Deadly crashes like the one on Thursday have residents petitioning for more highway safety improvements between Balgonie and Regina.
The province is proposing to have the intersection at Highway 1 and Balgonie’s main street shutdown as part of the Regina Bypass Route, but that won’t happen until the overpass at Highway 46 is complete in 2018.
Balgonie Fire Chief Dave Campbell doesn’t believe closing the intersection all together is a viable option.
“That will only leave us one way in and one way out of town and that doesn’t make sense in an emergency point of view,” he explained.
Doug Wakabayashi with the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure said closing the intersection after the completion of the overpass is just one of many options for Balgonie.
He explained that a speed reduction pilot project currently implemented between Pilot Butte and White City could be extended to the Balgonie stretch of highway.
“The initial results we’re seeing are quite positive, and we’ve implemented the same project as well in the Martinsville (spelling?) area and we’re seeing positive results as well.”
Whatever the approach, it appears the shared sentiment is that something should be done sooner rather than later.
“Something has to be done,” stressed Petford. “There’s at least one fatality a year there…it’s horrible”
Construction on the Regina Bypass Route is set to begin in the New Year, with work expected to be complete in 2018.