You may have noticed some major changes in accessibility to some roadways from Saskatchewan Avenue West, especially 8th St. SW, following the rejuvenation project work this year. The Portage la Prairie City website notifies residents that the engineering team has recommended that 8th Street SW become a one-way southbound street from Saskatchewan Avenue W down to St. George Avenue. 

city map

The City explains that the new intersection design reduces the potential for north/south collisions and improves roadway definition while lessening pedestrian crossing distances and the number of intersection movements.  

Saskatchewan Avenue will no longer allow direct access from 8th St SWDriving north from 8th St SW, you can no longer directly access Saskatchewan Avenue.

Manager Nathan Peto notes anyone who has travelled through that intersection, especially travelling south across Saskatchewan Ave. would have noticed that the streets were misaligned. 

"It wasn't just a small misalignment; it was significant. In any modern traffic standard, we wouldn't recreate the streets like that," notes Peto. "We looked at the Avenue and we thought, 'Okay, how can we correct this problem? How can we avoid any potential safety issues? How can we flow traffic in a way that makes sense?' After a lot of consultation and working with engineers, we created an area where you have 8th St. SW being a one-way down to the Crescent."

Nathan PetoNathan Peto 

Peto says the benefit is that one-way traffic prevents people from driving across the intersection over Saskatchewan Ave. and potentially coming head-on with traffic driving north. He acknowledges that it will take time for people to adjust to the change, however, it makes the intersection more safe, allowing for more logical traffic flow.

He says any given intersection has had its share of accidents. 8th Street W, though, had the potential to see accidents take place when vehicles might collide head to head, and it's all due to the misalignment.

"I think you're just improving safety for everyone," continues Peto. "When we looked at the Avenue, we had to find a different solution, and I think the solution makes sense. There are a lot of intersections where, when you introduce boulevards, there will be areas where you could potentially go right across Saskatchewan Ave. to the next street and sometimes boulevards will change. We made those decisions based on traffic counts and seeing where the traffic needed to flow. Anytime you add accessibility from one lane, you take away from the other. So, the goal is to create the most amount of traffic efficiency as you can on the Avenue that makes sense for people getting where they need to go as fast as they can." 

The bottom line is that you cannot drive north on 8th St. SW past St. George Street to Saskatchewan Avenue. It is one-way from Saskatchewan Avenue to that point.

The City explains why 8th St. W cannot be aligned to avoid all of this.

"For the City of Portage to correct the intersection and maintain the existing two-way traffic, one side of the street would need to be realigned. To do this, the City would need to obtain property and disrupt businesses or residents, which can be a long, contentious, and expensive process that typically results in property owners/residents feeling unfairly treated. To avoid this process and reduce the potential for collisions 8th Street SW will be converted to a one-way operation, between Saskatchewan Avenue West and St. George Avenue."

Signage will not display a one-way section, but rather a "No Through Road" sign. Only local traffic will be allowed to travel north to the Avenue only to access their driveways, including the body shop and Oak Towers. Currently, a "Road Closed" sign is present as you drive north on 8th St. SW and meet Saskatchewan Avenue, but that is temporary until new signs are installed later this week.


Click on maps below to enlarge with traffic direction details: 

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