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Regina Bypass a Comfort to Grieving Mother

Wanda Campbell at the Regina Bypass.

It was August 9, 2013. It was a Friday. The weekend was beckoning.

It was a beautiful summer evening in Saskatchewan. It was warm but not uncomfortably hot. Winds were calm.

It was the kind of night that's perfect for ice cream.

It was the night Wanda Campbell's life changed forever.

Her son got in his car and drove from their home in Pilot Butte. He planned to go to the Dairy Queen in White City.

He never made it.

While crossing Highway 1 at the Pilot Butte intersection, Lane Antosh's car was hit.

He was killed.

It was just a few weeks after his 17th birthday.

Lane Antosh with family.

Antosh was not the first person to die trying to cross Highway 1 east of Regina. The 17-kilometre stretch, which includes the Pilot Butte intersection, had a reputation. People who lived in the area said the road was dangerous. Students at the high school in Balgonie talked about it.

There were too many class graduation photos with an empty space. People had been to too many funerals.

"There was a trail of crosses, and a trail of heartbreak, and broken lives connected with that part of the highway," said Campbell. "Something needed to be done."

Campbell became an advocate for highway safety. She joined with members of the community pushing for a safer way to travel through the area.

The efforts of those dedicated community members influenced the design and construction of the Regina Bypass, the largest transportation infrastructure project in the province's history.

There were a number of compelling reasons to build the bypass: the project came with numerous economic and environmental benefits.

But the overarching benefit was safety.

The bypass has been designed with features that reduce the likelihood of collisions and minimize their impact. Crashes are down. And the effect of collisions is less severe.

Campbell remembers a day in 2017. Phase One of the bypass, that once-notorious section east of Regina, had recently been completed.

It was the day Campbell presented the Lane Antosh Memorial Award to a student at Greenall High School in Balgonie.

After the ceremony, she drove down Highway 1 to get a coffee.

When she arrived, she saw a group of students getting out of a car.

"I looked at them and thought, you won't know what this highway was like," she said. "You know to be cautious, but you won't be afraid."

Campbell says that's what the bypass means to her. It has secured a better future for those students and their children. She thinks of all the people who now have a safe way to get around, for work or shopping, to go see a movie or take their kids to hockey practice.

She understands we cannot completely eliminate collisions, but the Regina Bypass has saved lives.

The intersection where Lane Antosh was killed has been replaced with a new overpass. The Pilot Butte interchange is designed with a state-of-the-art diverging diamond traffic pattern.

Beneath all that engineered concrete is a cross that stands in memory of Lane Antosh.

It's a continuing reminder of what the bypass means to an entire community of people.

"If Lane's legacy is to be forever associated with the bypass, I'm ok with that," said Campbell. "I find comfort knowing that future lives will be saved."

Lane Antosh memorial pin.

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