After years of waiting, North Grenville residents will finally see a dangerous intersection made safer with the installation of a roundabout. The intersection of County Roads 43 and 22 – the latter otherwise known as South Gower Drive – is expected to have a tender for the upgrade work in by the end of this month.
The decision to move ahead with the work was the subject of a special meeting of Council of the United Counties on October 4. County Council members include Mayors from municipalities in the Counties, with Mayor Peckford amongst those in attendance at the virtual meeting. Council members wasted no time jumping into the issue at hand during the short meeting.
First up for discussion was a motion to reduce the speed limits on both County Road 43 and County Road 22 in the area of the intersection. The speed limit on County Road 43 will be reduced to 60km/h from the intersection to the existing 60km/h zone at the 416 overpass to the west, and to the area of Maplestone Drive to the east. On County Road 22, the limit would be reduced to 60km/h from approximately 50m north of Anthony Curro Drive, to approximately 50m south of Kennedy Road.
“I would like to thank our public works staff for moving the issue of speed reductions forward,” said Mayor Peckford at the meeting. “I’m fully supportive of the speed reduction.” Mayor Peckford went on to further point out that it may take some time for drivers to change their habits of driving quickly through the intersection. She recommended additional supports to help slow drivers down, such as rumble strips, but acknowledged that this would be a discussion for a later date. Merrickville-Wolford Mayor Doug Struthers also chimed in, pointing out that letting people know of the speed limit reduction in advance, and issuing tickets for violators, should help people change their habits.
In response to the idea of rumble strips, Counties Director of Public Works Rick Kester pointed out that while these are effective at getting drivers’ attention, they also produce a lot of noise. For this reason, it is a good idea to seek feedback from residents of the area prior to planning for the installation of rumble strips.
The motion for the reduction of the speed limits was carried, but there was no motion on the October 4 agenda for the awarding of the roundabout tender, or for the discussion of timing on the project. With all County Council members in agreement, the meeting strayed briefly from the agenda to discuss this at the insistence of Mayor Peckford. Director Kester confirmed that the consultation work on the roundabout project has been completed, and that the tender for the work is expected to be awarded by the end of October.
The intersection at South Gower Drive is known for the high frequency of accidents that occur there, including accidents that occasionally result in fatalities. Visibility is generally good at the intersection, but the volume of traffic on both roads likely contributes to the high number of collisions. Drivers on County Road 43 are warned of the approaching intersection with a “proceed with caution” sign and a flashing yellow light. For drivers on South Gower Drive, a flashing red light and a sign reading “cross traffic does not stop” warns drivers of the intersection’s danger.
In 2019, it was announced that the intersection would be fitted with a roundabout to counteract the problem, though residents were left waiting for years for the work to begin. With these final administrative steps taken, it won’t be long now before shovels are finally in the ground.