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Roundabout preferred choice – but solution slow coming to Cty Rd 1 and Hwy 62

By Sharon Harrison
Whether it’s a roundabout or traffic lights, both choices remain on the table as viable options to fix help the on-going traffic problems where County Road 1 intersects with Highway 62, ensuring the number of accidents at the problematic intersection could be reduced with an amended layout.

However, a roundabout is the clear frontrunner and the preferred option, according to the MTO.

At Wednesday’s planning and development committee meeting, Mayor Steve Ferguson asked about the timeline of when construction could begin, but Tim Belliveau, project manager with Stantec Consulting stated there is no firm answer to that.

“The ministry has committed to finishing this study, the funding is in place to start the next phase of the project… and that is a big hurdle to get over to make sure there’s funding in place for that…,” said Belliveau.

He added the detailed design study would “hopefully” start sometime in the next year or so, proceeding to construction after that.

When Ferguson asked if that would be 2025, Belliveau said “can’t put a year on it, but that would be optimistic”.

Since Highway 62 is a provincial highway (the municipality is not responsible for its upkeep), the provincial government (rather than the municipality) is leading the charge on the proposed project.

Belliveau shared a presentation outlining details of what’s being proposed, the schedule, and how six options became two.

Stantec Consulting is responsible for undertaking a preliminary design and class environmental assessment for the intersection improvements.

According to Belliveau, intersection improvements may include things like alignments to both the horizontal and vertical alignments, addition of turning lanes, additional through lanes, additional illumination, signalizing the intersection or providing a roundabout.

“Alternative 1 is essentially signalizing the existing intersection, and Alternative 4 is replacing the intersection with a roundabout,” said Belliveau.

He explained that after the last public information meeting, a closer look was taken at Alternative 1, a signalized intersection.

“To meet some ministry standards with geometrics, we did have to make a couple of refinements to that alternative, so what we carried forward was Alternative 1R (revised) into the evaluation,” he said.

“The revision comes from the intersection angles, so the skew on the angle at the intersection is too skewed for signalizing, so we had to square things up a little bit and that resulted in realigning County Road 1 slightly to the south, and putting a bit of a curve in it to get a better angle. That intersection is signalized and also includes left-turn lanes on each of the approaches.”

The details of Alternative 4 (roundabout) haven’t changed since the last public meeting and consist of a roundabout centred on the existing intersection.

The evaluation is divided into three areas, namely engineering, community, and the natural environment.

“The real purpose here was to show that there are a lot of different factors that go into evaluating the different alternatives; it’s not just cost, it’s not just highway operations, it’s not just property, there are a lot of different criteria we look at,” he explained. “On this particular project, just because it’s a little bit smaller-scale, it’s an intersection (it’s not the 401 corridor, for example), some of those natural environment property impacts are a little bit less on this type of project, so the waiting for those criteria is slightly lower.”

He said the real take-away from the evaluation was the score for highway engineering is “a fair bit higher for the roundabout alternative” primarily due to the increased safety, as there are a “lower number of collisions at roundabouts”, and also because vehicles are travelling at a lower speed, there is a lower severity of collisions.

He also said queue lanes and delays to traffic were much better with the roundabout alternative over signalization.

The category for community/natural environment included looking at the number of trees that needed to be removed, noting that there wasn’t much difference between the roundabout and signalization options.

“What we get when we add up all those factors is that the roundabout is the preferred option, so that is the preferred plan that we are intending to present to the public,” said Belliveau, noting that it addresses safety concerns, it has inherent safety benefits by reducing the safety and number of collisions, and it also improves the overall traffic operations.”

He also spoke to property impacts on the north-east and south-west quadrants of the roundabout, with a couple of driveway changes.

“Generally, the roundabout at the existing intersection, with a couple of minor realignments to the road approaching it, just to reduce that travel speed, and again help out from a safety perspective.”

The diameter of the proposed roundabout will be approximately the same size as the Picton roundabout located near the Waring House.

A public information meeting held Thursday was hosted by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO), and was the second meeting to outline the two remaining options being considered (reduced from originally six alternatives for consideration).

Next steps in the process will include the transportation and environmental study report to be published in the spring, or before the summer, for public review.

“This study includes reviewing existing conditions, developing and evaluating intersection improvement alternatives, and developing environmental protection and mitigation measures.”

At the completion of the study, a recommended plan will be presented, and the public will have 30 days to provide comment.

The public is being encouraged to participate in the process and to learn more about the proposed intersection changes at Highway 62 and County Road 1 (and to share comments and questions by Feb. 23), by visiting Hwy62PEC1.ca

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  1. Frank says:

    The speed on 62 at this junction is far too fast for a roundabout. So I guess it would mean that there will be new speed limit signs at least 1/2 km down in both directions to slow people down. During the summer season, I think a traffic light like the one at Highway 2 and 40 would be better to mitigate traffic bottle neck.

  2. SM says:

    Dan, highway 62 and the proposed roundabout are the responsibility of the province, not the County.

  3. CountyProud says:

    While we are waiting for some sort of a necessary solution can the County not install a set of those mobile traffic lights like those used at construction sites? It can’t be cost prohibitive and wouldn’t require a whole pile of studies and infrastructure to do this as a stop gap measure. Sure, people run red lights however if this prevents one crash or saves one life, is it not worth the effort?

  4. TIP says:

    The question now becomes whether this roundabout gets built before or after the proposed BEAR (Belleville East Arterial Road) interchange off the 401 in Belleville. Both projects get talked about, but nothing happens with them!

  5. Dan says:

    I have driven through that intersection twice a day for 30+ years and Ive never thought of crashing into anyone. If the County wants to spend dollars and effort attracting newcomers and visitors to the county, it also has to accept the fact that visitors require more than bathrooms and wine. As we are seeing with the water infrastructure, it’s easy to invite people to the County but very expensive to play host when they actually arrive.

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