Kristen Rodrigues says a crumpled strip of guard rail along Oil Heritage Line should be all the proof Lambton County needs to add an overhead light or flashing beacon to the intersection at Douglas Line.
The Plympton-Wyoming councillor told her colleagues May 24 about what could have been a tragic accident which led to the twisted steel while discussing the county’s reasons for leaving the intersection as it is.
Council has voiced concern about the intersection as drivers try to find away around a detour nearby Lakeshore Road just as the summer traffic heading to the lake increases. Douglas Line is not the official detour, but it is the last turn off before the construction begins.
The lay of the land also contributes to the issues. The intersection is at the bottom of four hills. Drivers coming south on Oil Heritage Line can miss the bends in the road just south of the intersection.
And, since it is a rural area, the intersection is particularly dangerous in the dark, councillors say.
Councillor Bob Woolvett brought the issue to the attention of staff and council earlier in May and asked that the county review the safety precautions at the corner. A flashing red light or an overhead light in the intersection was suggested.
Council sent a letter to the county asking for the improvements but Matt Deline, manager of public works, said the traffic counts in the area don’t meet the standards the county uses for further action.
Deline, in a letter to council, said flashing red beacons “should be used with considerable discretion” according to the Ontario Traffic Manual, so they don’t become common place and then are ignored.
Deline added the speed limit on Douglas has been reduced and the county would add a ‘stop sign ahead’ sign.
An overhead streetlight also “isn’t warranted” under the standards of the Transportation Association of Canada Illumination of Isolated Rural Intersection Guidelines, Deline added.
But the county did alert the local OPP about the traffic concerns.
Rodrigues says there is clearly problem which needs attention as she explained the accident. “A transport veered, forcing a hydro truck into the guard rail – I don’t know how he kept control of the vehicle…I spoke with the officer regarding this incident…he feels personally this is a dangerous intersection because of its geography – it’s a winding road and you got up and down.
“I can’t find one person who doesn’t believe this is an area that should have some attention to it.
“We really have to take the stand on this. This intersection should have had some attention years ago not just now and this is just amplifying it. I think we have a duty to do all we can to make sure it’s safe.”
Council decided to ask the county to put a flashing yellow light at the corner, add more barricades to the corner and reconsider installing an overhead light in the area.
They’ve also sent their concerns to the OPP.