WELLINGTON – Two new traffic signals and 16 roundabouts may be coming to Wellington County roads.
During the county council meeting late last month, county engineer Don Kudo presented a report on proposed intersection improvements, weighing the benefits between intersections fronted by traffic lights and roundabouts.
“Staff received a thorough detailed evaluation package analysis from our consultant team for each intersection location,” wrote Kudo in the report. “The attached intersection evaluation template will be a useful tool… to determine the appropriate traffic control including whether a roundabout or traffic signals should be implemented.”
The county currently has 38 signalized intersections and 10 roundabouts.
While seven future roundabout locations currently have traffic lights, three have temporary traffic signals.
“The intent of this report is to provide the roads committee with information on proposed intersection improvements with respect to traffic control utilizing signalization or roundabouts,” said Kudo, in the report. “The assessment and decisions to implement traffic signals or a roundabout are varied and site-specific.”
According to the report, when a roundabout is considered instead of traffic signals, it can be for a variety of reasons including a need for “traffic calming” in an area with “known safety concerns,” as well as poor intersection geometry leading to bad sight lines.
It also explained that roundabouts are ideal for the intersection of two county roads with high-speed limits and those with lots of high turning movements and high truck volumes.
“What type of control is used is determined by the collection of data, to see if results meet the criteria based on the Ontario Traffic Manual,” said Coun. Gregg Davidson, roads committee chair. “If an intersection meets the criteria county staff can then determine whether that intersection should have a roundabout as an alternative signalized intersection.”
The report suggests that roundabouts “minimize conflict points” for pedestrians and drivers, while lowering vehicle speeds, reducing the likelihood of t-bone collisions, and vehicle idling. They also manage higher volumes of traffic more effectively than a traditional intersection.
Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.