The installed but not yet functioning traffic lights at the intersection of County Road 22 and Bennett Road in eastern North Grenville.

Strictly speaking, all traffic lights serve an important purpose. They are certainly not installed just for show. At an estimated installation cost of between $80,000 and $160,000, traffic lights better not be installed simply to look pretty!

Several weeks ago, a new (but not yet functioning) traffic light appeared seemingly out of nowhere on County Road 22, on the north side of the Canadian Pacific Railway bridge where the county road meets Bennett Road. The purpose of a traffic light in the area seems clear at first glance. Vehicles turning onto the county road are met with very poor visibility to the south due to the overpass. However, on a county road in a very rural area, traffic lights are seldom installed without a much better reason. What could that much better reason be?

The answer is… dump trucks! Bill Guy, who is the Manager of Engineering and Operations and Public Works for the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville explained to the Times that the traffic light has been built as part of an agreement with Lafarge, which has a quarry on Bennett Road. Bill confirmed that there has been increased production at the quarry recently, meaning that more dump trucks are turning onto County Road 22 from Bennett Road. 

“The light will allow steady traffic on County Road 22 but will change when heavy trucks from the quarry are accessing County Road 22,” said Bill. It stands to reason that any vehicle waiting to turn would trigger the relays in the traffic light computer system to best control the flow of traffic. Bill also confirmed that as part of an agreement, Lafarge has paid for the full cost of the traffic light installation. The poor visibility to the south at the intersection becomes more problematic when dump trucks are frequently using the intersection, particularly because of the time that it takes them to make the turn. This explains why lights that may seem “out of place” at first glance in a deeply rural area are certainly needed in consideration of road safety for dump trucks and passenger vehicles alike.

The United Counties is the upper tier local government responsible for county roads and projects therein. Bill confirmed that the lights at County Road 22 and Bennett Road are one of several projects planned or in the works, including four roundabouts being added as part of the County Road 43 expansion from Colonnade Road to County Road 44 (Rideau St).

So why aren’t these important lights functioning yet? Bruce Enloe from the Municipality of North Grenville had some insights regarding this question. 

“Initial delays were caused when new permits were required after CP Railway and Lafarge and Hydro One made some changes to the layout,” said Bruce. “Lafarge recently advised that the traffic lights aren’t working yet as they are waiting on Hydro One for completion of installation – Hydro’s schedule is apparently quite busy, Lafarge was informed it will be somewhere near the end of September before they are able to do the work.”

When the traffic light does commence operation, motorists of all vehicle types will be safer. The approach to the intersection from both the north and the south includes a set of warning lights designed to prepare county road motorists to stop when the signals are likely to be red as they reach the intersection, preventing potential collisions and making North Grenville roads safer. 


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