The Department of Infrastructure plans to upgrade the lights of the crosswalk on the Mackenzie Highway near The Rooster convenience store.

In June, a new crosswalk was created across the Mackenzie Highway in front of the Hay River Regional Health Centre. NNSL file photo

In the territorial legislature on Oct. 19, Hay River North MLA R.J. Simpson pointed out the difference between the lights on that crosswalk and the much brighter lights on the crosswalk installed in June across the Mackenzie Highway in front of the Hay River Regional Health Centre.

Simpson asked Infrastructure Minister Wally Schumann if lights on the crosswalk leading to the 553 area could be upgraded so that they are brighter and more noticeable similar to the ones at the health centre crossing.

Schumann, the Hay River South MLA, agreed there is a difference between the lights at the two crossings.

“The one that we just put up at the Hay River Hospital has the latest technology that has been introduced right across the country,” he said. “Moving forward, the department has a program that we are going to install the latest version within this fiscal year at this crossing at the Red Rooster.”

Simpson welcomed that news.

And noting that the arms of the new crosswalk don’t swivel, the MLA also asked if the work on the crosswalk near The Rooster will only be on the lighting and the arms will still be able to swivel to allow large loads to pass by.

Schumann said the only change will be installing new panels and flashing LED beacons similar to or exactly the same as the ones near the hospital.

Simpson also asked the minister about the “unofficial” crossing of the Mackenzie Highway from behind the Soup Kitchen to Poplar Road in the industrial area.

“Has the department considered installing some type of crossing lights here, or even signs warning motorists that there are pedestrians on this highway?” he asked Schumann.

“I can commit to having the department have a conversation with the Town of Hay River and the RCMP for consideration,” the minister responded.

Schumann said, when a new crosswalk is considered, projected traffic flows, the type of traffic, the volume of traffic, the width of the highway and the speed limit have to be taken into account.

The minister noted that adding a crosswalk to a highway in the NWT costs approximately $40,000 and takes 12 weeks to complete.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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