Dan Green, Senior Manager, Transportation and Graydon Botsford, Project Engineer, MTO discussed the widening and safety enhancements to Highway 3 for Phase 3 Contract 2 (east of CR 23 to east of CR 34, for a distance of 15 km).
It was noted that an updated study review had been required due to the failure to meet the original deadline for project commencement.
Mr. Green presented the results of the study review and the technically preferred plan. He presented the Public Information Centre results, including a brief overview of the comments provided. The comments indicated concerns for closure and increased traffic challenges - most notably for family businesses related to the Cameron and Graham sideroad closures (the concerns included a petition against the closures). Mr. Green indicated that upon review, Cameron sideroad would be closed (as well as Inman, Upcott and Marsh) and Graham sideroad would have a traffic signal installed (as well as Belle River Road and CR 18). The traffic signals would allow for traffic smoothing.
Mr. Green noted that MTO would return to County Council for a regulatory speed change for both Division Road and County Road 18.
County Council requested clarification on roads related to their municipalities, and noted their concern with lack of road widening and traffic signals:
- Hilda MacDonald sought clarification on the traffic data, and questioned if the data was from 2006. She noted her concern based on the booming greenhouse industry in recent years. Mr. Green advised that the data was current and that the 2006 data was for County Road 34 and obsolete.
- Tom Bain indicated that concerns have been brought forth in the Lakeshore community, especially by members from the farming community.
- Nelson Santos expressed concern for the county roads in regards to agricultural and transient traffic. Mr. Green responded that a full analysis is not possible at this time. He indicated that the Highway 3 improvements and local road closures will counterbalance the traffic on the county roads. Graydon Botsford advised that they will continue to monitor the locations after the improvements to determine if further improvements will need to be made to the county roads.
- Gord Queen expressed his concern with the Cameron Side Road closure. Mr. Green advised that the MTO has the right to appeal if the County Council did not approve any of the side road closures, making a case for the safety concerns. The decision would then lie with the appellatory board.
Mr. Green emphasized that the desire of the MTO is to enhance the traffic conditions and reduce collisions.
Warden McNamara agreed with Hilda MacDonald's concerns regarding the greenhouse industry and the increased truck traffic in that area within the next 10 years. He noted that the growth within the last 2 to 3 years in the greenhouse industry would at minimum, double, with regards to truck traffic. The Warden further expressed that the Cameron Sideroad intersection should incur further review, and could perhaps be utilized with a traffic signal as opposed to a closure.
Mr. Green noted that the MTO and the traffic study group spent a lot of time with local municipalities and that they estimated for the future greenhouse growth. In regards to Cameron Side Road, Mr. Green advised that the decisions around traffic signals was challenging.
Mr. Verbeke reiterated his concerns for the greenhouse truck traffic and a need for a future outlook.
The Warden thanked the MTO for sharing the information and noted that key areas under review in the corridor are very important to the citizens of the community.