Momentum building for Petrolia Line roundabout

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This accident on May 4, 2020, prompted calls for Lambton County to do something about road safety at the corner of Petrolia Line and Kimball Road in St. Clair Township. File photo

St. Clair Council is throwing its support behind the idea of a roundabout at the corner of Petrolia Line and Kimball Road.

In early May, a transport hauling gravel and an SUV collided at the corner, killing the transport driver.

Joleen DeGurse MacDonald wrote an emotional letter telling Lambton county councillors, that after decades of deadly accidents, it was time to install a roundabout on the county road..

St. Clair Council Mayor Steve Arnold, will ask Lambton County Council to look at the idea of having a roundabout installed at the June 3 meeting.. 

“I’ve always been a proponent of the roundabouts. You’re slowing down to go through that, and they’re very successful in many jurisdictions throughout the world as well as in Ontario. We have one out at Mandaumin and it’s always worked well,” Arnold says .

“The biggest advantage with a roundabout is that you eliminate T-bone accidents. We’ve done most of the controls that we could, like more lighting, bigger signs, flashing lights, lower speeds, we’ve done all those engineering controls and yet we still have accidents there that are very serious. So the next step there is to build a roundabout,” says Arnold. 

Arnold says there may be concerns as the Petrolia Line serves as a heavy haul corridor for the area, but said there were engineering solutions that could address this, such as the size of the roundabout, or a possible thruway. The mayor also mentioned the idea of street lights, but said he prefers the roundabout as traffic lights do not prevent T-bone accidents. 

St. Clair Township Council will send a letter of support for the project to Lambton County Council. 

“A roundabout may be a little bit of time in coming, but certainly whatever they [traffic engineers] recommend I would see as an improvement to make that a safer intersection for traffic,” says Councillor Pat Brown. 

Momentum for the roundabout has grown in the community. An online petition thad nearly 1,000 signatures. The petition was started by Joeleen DeGurse-MacDonald, who wrote a letter to council outlining a history of crashes at the location, many of which have resulted in injury or death. 

“Enough is enough. It is time for the Township of St. Clair and the County of Lambton to find a solution that will save lives.”