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Calls for inquest, road improvement following MLA’s death, Sask. candidate calls for highway strategy

More information about the recent death of Thompson MLA Danielle Adams has led to calls from northern officials to improve road conditions in the north.
Northern highway file photo.

More information about the recent death of Thompson MLA Danielle Adams has led to calls from northern officials to improve road conditions in the north.

Adams’ death, which took place Dec. 9 along Highway 6 about 50 kilometres south of Ponton, happened after the vehicle Adams was driving collided with a north-bound semi in poor visibility conditions. According to sources cited by the Winnipeg Free Press, Adams was alive following the initial accident, but died of injuries sustained in the crash before trained first responders were able to respond to the scene. Emergency personnel, according to the Free Press report, were notified by the OnStar emergency alert system in Adams’ vehicle and 911 and emergency services were contacted several times, but key information about the accident - allegedly, including that Adams was severely injured - was not made known.

Northern elected officials are leading calls for an inquest into Adams’ death and northern highway conditions, saying that ongoing neglect and budget cuts and privatized road care has made highway travel in the north increasingly dangerous.

"Because the area is so large now, it takes them a long time to get the one (side plowed). So then everybody’s travelling on the wrong side of the road," Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsey is quoted as saying in the Free Press’ report. Lindsey said he had sent a letter to then-provincial infrastructure minister Ron Schuler with concerns over northern highways Dec. 9 - hours before Adams’ fatal crash.

"(When) you get behind a semi and it’s snowing, you can’t really tell which side of the road you’re on."

Some funding for road construction projects was already announced last year by Manitoba’s provincial infrastructure ministry - about 26 kilometres of Highway 39 south of Snow Lake east of the junction with Highway 392, about 10 kilometres of Highway 280 near Thompson and about 24 kilometres of road south of Duck Bay were all approved as projects in July 2021.


Sask. highways

On the other side of the provincial border, former NDP MP Georgina Jolibois - now running for the Saskatchewan NDP in a byelection in northwest Saskatchewan - has called for the creation of a northern road strategy. The candidate said the province’s road system for northern communities has been neglected and is in desperate need of new infrastructure and repair.

“Northerners shouldn’t have to fight tooth and nail to ensure their roads are safe and driveable,” said Jolibois in a party-issued press release Jan. 7.

“The Saskatchewan Party government has benefited from the strength of the north and the resources so vital to our provincial economy, but we have not seen an investment back into the roads and highways that connect our communities and make this resource development possible. It needs to go both ways.”