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Photo speed enforcement approved for high-risk highway intersection near Wakaw

The Government of Saskatchewan has recently approved photo speed enforcement (PSE) for the intersection of Highway 41 and Highway 2 at Wakaw.
Speed is a persistent problem at that location, with data showing 42 per cent of vehicles travelling through that intersection exceeded the posted speed limit; of those, 6.2 per cent were more than 10 km/hr over the limit.
From 2011-17, there were 31 collisions resulting in six deaths and 45 injuries at or near the intersection. Previous measures to reduce speeding include lowered speed limits, additional signage, speed display devices, flashing warning lights and increased manual enforcement.

“Based on our experience at other high-speed locations, we expect the presence of photo speed enforcement to calm traffic and improve safety at this intersection, reducing the number of speed-related collisions,” Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave said. “Our goal with PSE is zero tickets and zero crashes. My advice to drivers who wish to avoid getting a speeding ticket is simple: obey the posted speed limit.”

The application for this PSE camera location was made by the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure. The ministry examined different structural and engineering options for this high-risk location, but ultimately landed on photo speed enforcement.

It was a solution that could be implemented sooner, at a lower cost, and without disrupting traffic with an extensive construction project.
As is the case with other PSE locations, there will be prominent signs advising drivers they are entering a PSE zone.

The Wakaw camera is expected be installed by the end of January. Once operational, there will be a three-month period in which only warnings will be issued. After the warning period, active ticketing will begin.

“The Town of Wakaw supports the installation of photo speed enforcement along Highway 41,” Wakaw Mayor Steve Skoworodko said. “We need to reduce the amount of speeders travelling through that intersection, because they are putting themselves and other road users in danger.”

“I’m happy to know that these measures are being taken to increase the level of safety for area residents and visitors,” Rural Municipality of Fish Creek 402 Reeve Brian Domotor said. “Photo speed enforcement has proven to be effective at lowering the number of collisions, injuries and fatalities from speed-related collisions.”

The PSE committee reviewed a total of nine proposals for new locations from four applicants before making recommendations to government. The committee assessed applications against set criteria.

Successful applications needed to demonstrate the proposed location was either high-risk (where citizens or police officers would be exposed to higher risk through conventional enforcement methods), high-collision (where collisions are statistically more likely to happen), or locations where there was a high volume of vulnerable pedestrians present.
Applicants also had to demonstrate that previous measures to remedy the problem had been unsuccessful. Revenue generation is not a goal of PSE and potential for revenue is not considered in the decision-making process.

“We’ve said all along that there would be rigorous criteria applied to any proposed new location,” Hargrave said. “We don’t intend to have speed cameras on every highway and street – only where the data shows that excessive speeds represent a safety risk.”

SGI’s goal is to have zero tickets. However, any revenue from PSE speeding fines (above expenses) will be fully used to support traffic safety initiatives, province-wide via the Provincial Traffic Safety Grant program.

The PSE committee includes representatives from the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure and SGI.

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