Peerless fed up with ‘accident corner’

By Ben Ingram

Residents of Peerless met with MLA Jeremy Harrison, most fittingly on Friday, May 13, to raise concern over the misfortunes spelled by the two dead-end Highway 55 intersections straddling the community.

While the highway has historically been split into two ‘T’ intersections, divided by Highway 26, a new curve on the road to Meadow Lake has produced a dead-end residents are calling ‘accident corner’.

“I was going south towards the Meadow Lake turnoff and I looked down south up the hill, I never saw anything,” said Peerless resident Arnold Piecharka, one of several citizens from the town to recently pay Harrison a visit.

Piecharka, a long-time resident of Peerless, explained the situation that led to his truck being completely totalled.

“I looked to the east, where all the fast traffic has been coming from and going through the crossroad into Jim Honish’s pasture,” he said, speaking of the intersection where a tractor-trailer carrying a load of lumber flipped over on April 26.

“I didn’t look back the second time, I started to turn and heard brakes squeal and bam, we made contact.”

In over 60 years of driving, it was Piecharka’s first accident.

“My truck was totalled, I just didn’t see him,” he said. “There’s kind of a blind spot over the hump of the hill, a bit of a low area. He must have been in there.”

Piecharka isn’t the only resident of Peerless to grow tired of the new stretch of road which has quickly become notorious for accidents and collisions. Representatives of the Hofer, Piecharka, and Honish families all met with Harrison to plead for something to be done.

While Harrison was unavailable all week for comment, the residents say he promised to take their concerns to Jim Reiter, the minister of highways and infrastructure. The residents said Harrison stressed that he could ‘make no promises.’

Where Highway 55 going west from Meadow Lake used to meet with a gravel road through Jim Honish’s pasture, it now ends with a ditch.

“Jim Honish had to fix his fence six times already because vehicles had gone through the intersection, through the ditch and through his fence,” Piecharka said. “He said the last guy came through so fast, that when he came out of the west side of the ditch, he only took the top layer of the fence off.”

Peerless area resident George Hofer was also in attendance to raise the concern with Harrison.

“My son went there and Jim wasn’t around,” Hofer said of one of the vehicles that drove through the pasture fence. “He came back quickly, got the fencing tools and put up Jim’s fence. I don’t know how many times already people have gone through.”

Hofer said that Peerless residents are suggesting a stop sign be installed on Highway 26 before traffic comes into contact with ‘accident corner’. While Highway 26 runs straight through Peerless, the much busier Highway 55 is split between two dead-end intersections.

“How many people have to have accidents before they change it?” Hofer asked. “If they don’t change it, eventually they’ll realize they have to. How many people are going to get killed or have accidents?”

Hofer had one more suggestion to alleviate the problem.

“We’ll have to put up a big sign there – ‘accident corner,’” he said.

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