Engineer recommends roundabout at Petrolia Line and Kimball Road

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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

Engineers say the best way to stop accidents at Petrolia Line and Kimball Road would be a roundabout.

But some neighbours of the St. Clair Township intersection are not so sure. Some argue larger stop signs with large flashing lights on Kimball should be tried first.

Over the past ten years, there have been multiple calls for the intersection to be improved. Jolene DeGurse-MacDonald started a petition to get council to consider a roundabout in May 2020 when a Glencoe truck driver died in an accident at the corner.

The most recent crash May 30 sent three people to hospital with injuries. One driver was charged with failing to yield the right of way.

After the May 2020 crash, St Clair Mayor Steve Arnold asked county council to consider building a roundabout during the 2021 budget deliberations. But for two years, council failed to vote on the motion at budget deliberations.

After an accident this spring, St. Clair Township Mayor Jeff Agar asked county council to get the ball rolling on a solution. He first suggested a traffic light but then agreed to a study to find the best solution.

Steve Taylor of BT Engineering is heading up that Environmental Assessment study for Lambton County. Wednesday, he spoke to about 50 people gathered at the Corunna Legion about the proposed changes to the intersection.

BT Engineering’s study found that since 2017, there have been 13 accidents at the corner including two fatal collisions at the intersection and two with injuries. There have been 10 collisions were the vehicles were t-boned or hit from behind. Ten of those accidents occurred when a driver failed to stop or yield the right of way.

Taylor says the estimated costs of those accidents – which governments use to decide which intersections are a priority to fix – were $3.5 million in direct costs and $27.5 million in societal costs including the damage, injuries and the lasting effects of the accident.

Taylor told the crowd there is not enough traffic in the area for a four-way stop, oversized stop signs or traffic lights.

And while there were supporters in the crowd for a roundabout at the corner, some, like Tom Wilson, say the county should have erected the oversized signs a long time ago.

Wilson says measure has worked at Courtright Line at the Nauvoo Road intersection in Alvinston. “There’s no way you can miss stops.

“Why has there not been more work done on improving the intersection that way and see if it would decrease collisions, instead of going and jumping from point A to point Z and spend the multi millions to solve the problem that maybe could be solved by doing with due diligence, which should have been done 20 years ago by the county.”

Sharon Lapier also wanted a larger sign instead of a roundabout. The Corunna resident lived at the corner for years and was one of the neighbours who did a traffic count to convince Lambton politicias to erect the original stop signs at the intersection.

“We sat there every day for two weeks through the traffic periods and we counted cars, trucks, school buses, left-hand turns, right-hand turns – everything; and from that we’ve got a stop sign.

“Well, that didn’t do a whole lot. So, we complained and got a flasher. But we’ve got a bigger stop sign and a little flash,” Lapier said.

“If we had the big stop sign and the big flasher and the big overhead that they have down that highway 80 (near Alvinston) – that’s what we asked for in the first place – then I think we wouldn’t be here today.”

Taylor disagreed. “My advice is the stop sign won’t stop this from happening. The signals are not a solution. The roundabout comes in costs, but it comes with an effectiveness.”

“The oversize stop signs is a low cost countermeasure but it isn’t 100 per cent effective,” Taylor said.

“I have been in a T-bone collision where the driver went through an oversized stop sign with flashing lights; T-boned me with my eight-month -old daughter and the passenger seat. It is not a 100 per cent way to ensure low severity collision.”

Ty Moore who lives on the southwest corner of the intersection is opposed to a roundabout. He told Taylor it would mean cars would be going through it “basically beside my bedroom window.”

The construction of the traffic circle would move the intersection closer to his home but the engineer says the county would not have to purchase additional land for it.

Moore says more traffic measures are not going to help. “Ninety-nine per cent of it is the drivers fault – there is driver error; fix that part,” he said.

“Even if you put a police officer there seven days a week, 24 hours a day, it doesn’t ensure that there can’t be driver error,” Taylor replied.

The cost of a roundabout is estimated to be $2 million. Taylor estimated oversized stop signs at Kimball would be about $100,000.

Taylor and his team are expected to prepare a report, including comments from the public, to the county in the next few weeks. The decision on what traffic measures to use will be made by county councillors.

1 COMMENT

  1. Are u serious , spending that kind of Taxpayers money, when a All way Stop just as effective and at a reasonable cost.

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