WINNIPEG — The Manitoba building and trucking community is asking the province to step up efforts to protect roadside construction crews in work zones.
In a recent letter to government officials, the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association (MHCA), Winnipeg Construction Association, Merit Contractors, Manitoba Trucking Association and Heavy Equipment and Aggregate Truckers Association laid out their concerns.
The groups also suggested improvements and invited officials to meet with them to discuss the issue further.
“Everyone’s workplace should be safe, but too often this is not the case for construction workers who are getting the job done very close to passing traffic,” MHCA president Chris Lorenc said.
Lorenc is the chair of the SAFE Roads Committee, a volunteer group that includes industry, agency and government representatives.
The letter called for strong action and enforcement, specifically requesting the following:
- Stronger sanctions against work zone law violators
- Increased presence and enforcement from RCMP and police
- More photo radar enforcement
- Larger public awareness campaigns
- More speed-feedback signs
- Greater emphasis on construction zone safety in driver education curriculum
The letter noted that SAFE Roads has attempted to bring down death and injury rates for 15 years but workers and motorists continue to be harmed.
The groups highlighted an incident from this summer when a motorist in rural Manitoba killed two people, including a seven-year-old, and gravely injured a number of others in vehicles that were legally stopped at a highway construction zone.
The group also reminded officials of other incidents including a flagger getting killed by a car, a vehicle colliding with a concrete truck chute and a flagger getting their foot run over.