Local politicians discuss Hwy 138 with Transportation Minister

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
Local politicians discuss Hwy 138 with Transportation Minister
From left, South Stormont Deputy Mayor David Smith, Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney, South Stormont Mayor Bryan McGillis and United Counties Warden Frank Prevost. Submitted photo.

SOUTH STORMONT, Ontario – Less than 24 hours after a fatal accident occurred on Hwy 138 in South Stormont on Monday, Feb. 24, local politicians met with Ontario’s Transportation Minister to discuss the urgency of improvements to the important stretch of road.

South Stormont Deputy Mayor David Smith explained that he and Mayor Bryan McGillis discussed the highway with Minister Caroline Mulroney following the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference in late January. They made a point to meet with her again following the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) conference on Feb. 25.

“Our intent is to keep doing it until we see some changes on Hwy 138 where it can be much safer for the people driving on it, the businesses (that operate) along it, and for the people who live on it,” said Smith. “All of a sudden it seemed like we had their attention a little bit more.”

RELATED: Fifty one accidents on Hwy 138 in 2019

Smith feels that more signage, including flashing lights, should be established every few kilometers to remind drivers the speed limit, that they can not pass in a turning lane and that they are travelling on a dangerous road. He also feels that there should be a roundabout established at Headline Rd. and Hwy 138 as he recognizes that some drivers become impatient when another driver is attempting to turn, and then the dangerous act of passing on the right-hand side ensues. He also feels that passing lanes should be established along different parts of the highway.

“I’m confident that we are finally getting their attention,” said Smith, referring to Ontario Transportation delegates. “Nothing is going to happen over night. But they realize now more than ever it is a dangerous stretch of road, it needs to be higher up on their priority list.”

McGillis recognizes that Hwy 138 is the main corridor for traffic from Hwy 417 to our region. He has also observed that more distribution centres are operating within the region, thus creating increased truck traffic.

Mayor McGillis feels that for the cost of two commuter lots, a roundabout could have been constructed at Headline Rd. and Hwy 138, as he feels that intersection is a priority.

“Personally (commuter lots) wasn’t a priority as far as I was concerned. I think (MTO) should have gotten right to the issues where the traffic problems (are),” said McGillis.

“We are going to be aggressive, we can’t be burying people as often as we are. It’s not the road that’s really dangerous, even though it needs to be updated…it is (often) the drivers,” said Smith, recognizing that education as well as road updates are imperative to improving the safety of the highway.

“Minister Mulroney had a productive meeting with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of South Stormont this week to discuss the transportation needs of (SDG),” read a statement from Minister Mulroney’s office. “We agreed that protecting the safety of road users is paramount, and there’s always more work to be done to achieve this. Minister Mulroney has directed ministry officials to look into potential measures that will enhance safety along Hwy 138.”

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