More signs and further monitoring is the proposed plan for improving safety at a busy intersection in Chesterville. SDG Counties Council heard the results of a traffic study for the intersection of County Roads 43 and 7 at its December 19, 2022 meeting.
The study was requested by the previous term of council and prepared by Parsons Corporation. Chris Redden, an engineer with Parsons, said that the busy intersection had seen 10 collisions reported in the past five years. Five of the 10 collisions were reported in 2020.
Among the issues presented was “sun glare” on CR43 that prevented drivers crossing the road on CR7 from clearly seeing oncoming vehicles.
Additionally there were frequent “close calls” reported, but Redden said those were anecdotal and needed more study.
Redden said some of the existing safety elements like painted lines and enhanced signage could be improved with more signage to alert drivers stopping at the intersection that CR43 traffic does not stop. He recommended the rumble strips already embedded in the road be removed as drivers try to avoid those – which leads to further safety issues.
Three larger modifications to the intersection were also discussed in the report, each with expensive price tags.
To convert the intersection to a roundabout was not recommended as the cost was estimated to be $1 million. A similar price tag was attached to installing traffic signals. A third option, converting the intersection to an all-way stop financially cost much less ($25,000) but increased time and inconvenience for drivers on CR43.
Of the three options, Redden said the collision count does almost warrant converting to an all-way stop similar to rural intersections in Ottawa. All three options will improve safety at the intersection.
“Traffic signals are not warranted and expensive. The roundabout could be suitable, but is also expensive. The all-way stop is nearly warranted, very cost effective, but passes on the highest delays to users in terms of needing to stop and wait on County Road 43,” he explained.
Redden continued that if council opted not to make a major change, SDG Counties staff should continue to monitor the intersection.
Councillor Theresa Bergeron (North Dundas) was not in favour of expensive options.
“I know that corner very well. I am definitely not for traffic lights or a roundabout because it is way too expensive,” she said adding that with the current safety measures in place, she could not understand why there are so many collisions there.
“I don’t quite agree with removing the rumble bars. There is a lot of distracted driving out there.”
She also opined that excessive speeding on CR43 is an issue.
Councillor Marc St. Pierre (South Dundas) asked if lowering the speed limit on CR43 would help, to which Redden replied it was not something his company would recommend as some drivers ignore speed reductions.
“Drivers crossing the road could assume vehicles are travelling slower than they actually are,” Redden explained.
Councillor Steve Densham (North Stormont) asked if the issues at the intersection were local drivers. Counties Transportation Manager David Jans cited privacy concerns for the collision data used, but did confirm to council that most involved in the 10 collisions were people who lived within 45 minutes of Chesterville.
Calling the intersection a “conundrum”, Warden Tony Fraser said he would like to see some suggestions on how to deal with the road glare issue on CR43, and supported increased signage.
Staff will bring a formal plan back to council at the next meeting to proceed.
Also at SDG Counties…
SDG Council approved a temporary reroute of the Highway 401 Emergency Detour Route in coordination with Leeds-Grenville. Extensive water and sewer work on County Road 2 in Cardinal in 2023 required the EDR reroute in the event of the highway’s closure.
The new route will take traffic from Highway 416, along Leeds-Grenville County Road 21, which turns into SDG CR18 at the county line. Traffic will continue to Glen Stewart, and run on County Road 1 back to the 401. The temporary route will be signed.
SDG responds to Bill 23
Council approved keeping the public meeting process when dealing with subdivisions and rezoning in the wake of the recently passed Bill 23. The Ontario government’s legislation modified the rezoning process for subdivisions, allowing municipalities to forgo public meetings.
Bergeron asked if it was still worth having meetings as the onus was on moving forward with development. SDG Director of Planning Peter Young responded that municipalities can still place conditions on a development and the appeal process has been removed.
Densham said he supported keeping the public meeting process as it is a “two-way meeting” where a developer can also present information and possibly correct misinformation about a development.
Councillor Carma Williams (North Glengarry) asked about the site control plan for subdivisions under 10 units being removed from the process. Young said other controls like requiring a grading plan could be used instead.
Flood plain mapping approved
Council approved a pre-budget request for $93,200, split between the 2023 and 2024 budget for new flood plain mapping on the South Branch of the South Nation River in South Dundas and North Dundas. The mapping is in conjunction with South Nation Conservation.
“Part of this area has no flood plain mapping at all, the rest is 30-40 years old,” said SDG Director of Planning Peter Young. “It will be more precise and accurate.”
This article was originally written for The Morrisburg Leader.