TISDALE, Sask. — Rural politicians in Saskatchewan want changes made at a remote intersection where 15 people lost their lives after a semi truck and a bus carrying a junior hockey team collided.
Half a dozen crosses — a memorial for six members of one family who died in a collision at the same intersection more than two decades ago — already sit near a stand of trees at the corner of the intersection.
Now area residents are demanding changes at the intersection of Highway 35 and a secondary highway at a spot known as Armley Corner.
Coun. Dale Poggemiller with the Rural Municipality of Connaught lives near the intersection and says there’s no doubt it’s dangerous.
“This cannot happen again. This is tragic. We’ve got to act on this. There has to be something done,” Poggemiller said Wednesday.
“We’ve all travelled on buses everywhere and you know how dangerous things can be. And to have something like this happen, everybody just feels so sad, and they just want to see something good come out of this.”
The Humboldt Broncos were heading to Nipawin on Friday for a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game when the crash occurred. There were 29 people on the bus — 15 died and 14 were injured. The driver of the truck survived the crash.
The rural municipality is asking the Saskatchewan government to install rumble strips at the intersection and to lower speed limits.
“In the wake of this and the fact that this is the second one, yeah, maybe something needs to be done,” said deputy reeve Ian Boxall.
“If we get rumble strips out of this and we get a safer intersection out of this, great. It doesn’t relieve any of the grief or the pain that’s been caused by this,” he said. “Moving forward, we have to look at all our intersections.”
Boxall said provincial officials have agreed to meet with the municipality once the police investigation is done. He said the province should review all rural roads that cross intersecting highways.
Norman White lives across the road from the crash site. He said people have been talking about improvements to the intersection since three adults and three young children from the same family were killed in 1997.
“After that other accident, I thought they should put them rumble strips on the highway and they never have,” he said.
Myles Shumlanski was the first parent to arrive after the collision on Friday. His son Nick was one of the few that escaped the accident without serious injury. He said no parent should have to see something like this happen again.
“When the RCMP are done with their investigation … hopefully this will never happen again and it can’t happen again.
“This is devastating.”
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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press