‘These lights will save lives’: Mother relieved with Ring Road lighting years after her daughter’s crash

Ring Road’s southern bend is much brighter after the completion of an expressway lighting project between Assiniboine Avenue East and Albert Street South.

On Tuesday morning, municipal and provincial leaders gathered on the Wascana Parkway overpass above Ring Road to mark the end of the $1.984 million project to improve lighting along the five kilometres of road in the city’s south end.

The completion of the project is a relief for Lisa Boehm who lost her daughter Katie Boehm in 2015 from a motor vehicle collision. Katie, who was 17 years old at the time, was travelling southbound on Ring Road when her vehicle went off the road in the southeast corner and she was struck by a semi truck.

No light poles existed on that section of Ring Road at the time of the crash.

Five years later, Boehm admitted she was grateful that city council and the government came together to improve safety for drivers by installing lights along the busy expressway. She said she doesn’t want any other families to go through the loss she and her family have experienced since Katie’s tragic death.

“Really, it was always safety from the beginning. If it could happen to one person or one family, it could happen to more,” explained Boehm on Tuesday morning. “I just wanted to make sure we did everything as a city to protect our citizens.”

Lisa Boehm speaks to reporters and dignitaries on Tuesday, July 21 on the Wascana Parkway overpass above Ring Road. (Photo: Moises Canales/620 CKRM)

Boehm, who always believed lighting on the expressway could have made a difference for her daughter, said it took her a long time after Katie’s tragic accident before she could drive on Ring Road again.

“One night last week, I had the opportunity to drive this stretch of road for the first time since the lights went up, and what a difference they make,” she added.

“I have to be honest that I avoided this section of road for a very long time at night. But driving this section now that it’s all well lit, I’m very grateful and I hope this can be some sort of lasting legacy for our daughter Katie.”

Boehm approached city council a couple years ago to voice her concerns and request an increase in lighting and safety for drivers on Ring Road’s southern section.

Work on the project began in 2018 when the city of Regina began analyzing a cost-effective and efficient lighting option to improve safety for drivers travelling on the southern portion of Ring Road. Installation started in March 2019.

Mayor Michael Fougere said he’s so relieved this project is now completed.

“This has been a part of our plan for a number of years,” stated Fougere. “It’s good news for everyone, and if you drive this at night, you will see that it feels like a different world out there.”

111 eco-friendly, high intensity and efficient LED light poles will provide an average of 26,000 lumens. The lights are expected to save the city up to 50 per cent in energy cost savings.

The city says more than 40,000 vehicles travel on that stretch of Ring Road each day.

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