The latest fatal highway accident in Moosomin—when an Edmonton woman on a motorcyle was killed in a collision with a pickup truck July 11—adds to the long list of collisions at all three highway intersections in Moosomin that have given the community a collison rate twice the provincial average.
In 2014, SGI statistics show that Moosomin recorded 35 accidents involving a fatality, injury, or property damage, for a collison rate per 100 population of 1.13, more than twice the provincial average of .55.
These statistics show that Moosomin has the highest collision rate of urban communities with a population between 250 and 5,000 along the number one highway in Saskatchewan.
Other communities along the busy Trans-Canada Highway recorded a fraction of the number of accidents—Whitewood had 12, Grenfell had 7, Broadview had 4, Wapella had none.
This story is the same looking at the 2013 accident report—Moosomin had 32 collisions, Whitewood 12, Broadview 6, Grenfell 5, and Wapella 1.
Looking at the two years together, Moosomin recorded 67 accidents compared to one in Wapella.
Moosomin Mayor Larry Tomlinson says that he is aware of the issue and that the town has brought it up with the highways department in the past.
“I knew it wasn’t good,” said Tomlinson. “We’ve actually talked to the department of highways about it and one of the things we’d like to see is speed reduction. They don’t feel that it’s necessary, and we may go after them again for that, we do have another meeting coming up with the department of highways and that could be one of the things we discuss, because there have been too many accidents, especially at that Highway 8 junction.”
“I think the main thing is if we could reduce the speed a little bit,” said Tomlinson. “Especially the one at 8 and 1, there’s a bit of a curve to the west and I think that’s adding to the problem. It just seems to be hard to see, some people are just pulling out.”
“It’s a hard sight corner for sure.”
Tomlinson says that the department of highways has not offered any kind of solution to the problem. “They did put another turning lane down by the Co-op but there haven’t been many accidents there, they’ve all been at one and eight. The one thing that we’d like to see is reducing the speed, and we will bring that up again with them.”
Tomlinson says that this issue is a priority for the town and it will be brought up again with the ministry of highways.
“We have a meeting coming up in the next two weeks and we’ll make that one of the items on the list.”
SGI communications consultant Marie Schultz, confirmed that Moosomin has one of the top 5 accident rates among small/medium communities in Saskatchewan.
“SGI is the traffic safety advocate for the province and we are the main insurer,” said Schultz. “As a traffic safety advocate we want to concentrate on creating awareness and education on the factors that are creating the most collisions. We analyze the data so we know what areas need to be improved. We work closely with Highways and enforcement to deliver the three E’s of traffic safety: education, enforcement, and engineering.”
Schultz says that there weren’t any trending contributing factors to explain why Moosomin’s collision rate is so much higher than other towns along Highway 1 including Whitewood, Broadview, and Grenfell.
According to the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, motorists’ safety is a top concern for them.
“The Ministry regularly monitors intersections throughout the more than 26,000 kliometres network of provincial highways for safety issues. This monitoring includes the three intersections along Trans-Canada Highway 1 at Moosomin, the north intersection of Highways 1 and 8, the south intersection of Highways 1 and 8, and Highway 1 and the East Access Road,” says the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure.
The Ministry says that when highway twinning was completed in 2008, it automatically provided safety measures for motorists at Moosomin at the west intersection of Highways 1 and 8, such as right turn lanes and left turn lanes for both directions of travel on Highway 1. At the east intersection of Highways 1 and 8, safety measures upon completion of twinning included an eastbound right turn lane and a westbound left turn lane on Highway 1.
“The Ministry has also conducted two separate safety audits of the three intersections for Highway 1 at Moosomin in 2009 and 2012. As a result, additional lighting was put at all three intersection for improved visibility in 2013 and 2014, while an eastbound right turn lane was installed at the intersection of Highway 1 and the East Access Road,” said the Ministry.
According to the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, “the Ministry evaluates safety improvements throughout the province based on such factors as traffic volumes, number and type of vehicle collisions, motorists’ sight lines. and the expertise of traffic engineers.”