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A report on Manitoba roads that has raised questions about how closures are being announced – WinnipegOUS News

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Hazardous driving conditions forced the closure of a number of Manitoba highways Tuesday into Wednesday morning, but whether by accident or not, drivers were still found on many of those closed roads.

The reports raise questions about how traffic jams are communicated.

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Justin Kochen lives about half an hour west of Winnipeg and said he was already on his daily commute into the city before he saw the stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway he was driving on was closed Wednesday morning. .

“I passed Elie by the time the radio told me the road from Headingley to Elie was closed,” Kochen said later in the day.

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“I’ve been driving the road for about 17 years, and when you get up in the morning, you look outside, if you can see the road, there’s no reason to think it’s going to be closed otherwise.”

Kochen said he saw a number of people driving on both sides of the road in his route, even though the road had been closed for nearly 12 hours.

Other than a few snow spots, Kochen said he was able to drive the speed limit comfortably all the way.

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Icy conditions approached parts of the County Highway Wednesday morning

But it’s not something he would have done if he knew the highway was closed. He said that while he often checks the local roads (511) site when conditions are bad, he didn’t see the need after looking out his window Thursday morning.

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He wonders if more should be done to ensure drivers don’t accidentally end up on blocked roads.

“If there are applications that can alert you, why not?” you have

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“Or maybe at all the major intersections, they have like a flashing light, you know, to tell you that maybe the road is closed.”

The Mounties said, they, along with the community, decide when the roads under their jurisdiction are closed.

Manitoba RCMP Sgt. Paul Manaigre said police put up gates where possible, but some entry points remain open.

“If people want to go to the streets, technology is not going to stop them,” he said on Wednesday.

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“You can’t put a gate on every, pretty much, mile of road where you can turn, or you can’t put a police car in these locations.”

Manitoba’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure says drivers should check 511 before exiting.

Doyle Piwniuk notes the site has maps detailing which lanes are open and closed and live streams from traffic cameras showing current conditions.

He also said Manitobans can sign up for email alerts, and added the province is working on putting more reader boards on the streets.

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“We are reviewing the exact costs and we are working together with our local communities but also within our department,” he explained.

“We would like to put more of those signs in the future, much like you see on the highways in the US”

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Piwniuk said his department is open to looking into other options, including a public alert system, but admitted that hasn’t been explored yet.

In the meantime, he said, the onus is on Manitobans to check for closures before getting behind the wheel.

– with files from Rosanna Hempel

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