A grieving Ontario family’s push for the Manitoba government to begin twinning the TransCanada may have worked.
Peter Lugli had sent his family’s open letter to Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson earlier this week, saying the over 5,000 drivers from Manitoba and Ontario who travel along a 17-kilometre stretch of single-lane highway between the Ontario border and Falcon Lake are at risk, after a tragic accident three years ago.
On July 21, 2019, Mark Lugli, the 54-year-old principal of a Dryden, Ontario school and his 17-year-old son, Jacob, were on their way to Selkirk for a golf tournament when a semi swerved into their lane to avoid another vehicle, killing the two instantly.
Now, in a prepared statement, Premier Stefanson says after receiving the Lugli family’s open letter and seeing its response online, she has instructed the Minister of Infrastructure, Doyle Piwniuk, to review the situation and look for improvements to that stretch of the highway.
“My deepest condolences go out to the Lugli family for the tragic loss of their son and father. Manitobans and those visiting our province deserve to be safe while travelling on our highways,” wrote Stefanson.
In Ontario, Northern Development Minister and Kenora-Rainy River MPP, Greg Rickford, has estimated that our twinning project to the Manitoba border could wrap up by 2025 – and has previously spoken about the need to get Manitoba on board with their side of the twinning work.
Phase one of work between the border and the junction of Highway 673 and the TransCanada began in March of 2022. The second phase is set for an 8.5 km stretch between Highway 673 and Rush Bay Road, with the third phase set for 25 km between Rush Bay Road and Highway 17A.
The Lugli’s open letter notes the driver of the transport truck, who was 22 years old at the time and is from the Mississauga area, will face sentencing for the collision on August 24.
The family reserved comment on the ongoing court proceedings.