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VIRDEN, Man. — The installation of the only traffic light on the Trans-Canada Highway between Brandon and the outskirts of Regina has eliminated a safety hazard near here.

The lights recently began operating, allowing oft-clogged traffic to cross the highway during peak periods — much to the delight of Virden, Man. residents.

The $1.8-million project includes light-activating sensors under the pavement, so busier through traffic won’t be stopped unless someone is waiting to cross.

Sgt. Graham Burnside of Virden RCMP told local media the intersection has been a concern for some time. Heavy traffic was a problem, partly because of the increasing number of semi-trailers, as well as RVs in the summer.

The four-lane highway narrows to two lanes west of Virden, so motorists sometimes rush onto the highway when travelling west if they see several trucks coming down the highway. This can be risky, but drivers are reluctant to get caught behind vehicles they perceive as hard to pass, he said.

Also, he adds an increasing number of trucks are entering or crossing the highway and this can hold up other vehicles because large trucks need a bigger gap in traffic to cross.

The total cost of the project was about $1.9 million, reports the provincial highways department.

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