TEHKUMMAH – The speed limit on the 10th Sideroad between Range B Road near the village of Tehkummah and Highway 6 has dropped from 80 to 70 kilometres per hour (km/h) to reflect the hazards of the road’s twisty south end, though the councillors differed on their preferred speed for the sideroad.
Roads superintendent Kevin Dunlop originally requested that council reduce the entire section to 70 km/h until it meets Highway 6. The township recently upgraded a portion of that road in a major infrastructure overhaul.
“I’ve taken the road myself and did different speeds along it. Everybody sees the straight stretch and of course they want to high-ball it. But as soon as you get into those s-corners right by Snake Trail (Sixth Concession), you could hit somebody coming around that corner,” Mr. Dunlop told council at its October 6 meeting, emphasizing the risk of losing control in winter especially. “And there’s no need for 80 km/h. I’d like to say it’s tourists, but really the locals are our biggest problem.”
“We know the roads too well,” suggested Councillor Michael McKenzie.
Councillor Eric Russell said he would like to see a dividing centre line on an unrelated stretch of roadway near the Government Road bridge.
Mr. Dunlop said he wanted to consider adding a dividing line on both the Government Road and the 10th Sideroad.
Councillor McKenzie added that the township should get quotes for a centre line down all of its tar and chip roads that will not need to be redone in the coming years.
The meeting returned to the speed limit focus and Councillor Lorie Leeson said council should follow a similar measure to Yonge Street in Mindemoya, which has a slow speed in a curvy section and a higher speed along the straight stretches.
Councillor Russell then asked if there was any timeline to fix the bump on Government Road near the above-mentioned bridge on the different roadway.
Councillor McKenzie supported Councillor Leeson’s suggestion of a brief speed restriction in the curved sections of the 10th Sideroad, offering an even lower speed of 60 km/h, but leaving the straight portions at 80 km/h. He suggested that people might not take the limit seriously if it feels too low on the straight portions, which could lead them into higher speeds as they enter the twists.
“I certainly agree with the 60 in the curves but I also agree that on the side where we’ve got the deep ditch now (following the road rehabilitation project), we’ve got to put (the speed limit) down for insurance reasons,” said Mr. Dunlop.
Councillor Rick Gordon suggested that the 10th Sideroad should have a 60 km/h limit on its entire length because many Island roads use that speed and higher limits are unnecessary.
Reeve Dave Jaggard said putting up a winding road sign may be effective. Councillor McKenzie agreed and said the combination of a winding road sign with a lower limit would signal to drivers that they must take extra care.
Councillor Russell was pessimistic that lowering the speed limit would accomplish anything.
“Being on the (Community Policing Advisory Committee) for eight years, we don’t have nobody enforce nothing. You could put it at 30 and I don’t think it would make a difference,” he said.
Mr. Dunlop said for insurance purposes, a lower speed limit could alleviate some liability for the township.
“But we just spent two million dollars on that road, and now you say it’s not safe to drive on?” countered Councillor Russell, further asking if a recent fatal accident on an unrelated stretch of road would result in liability for the township.
Councillor Leeson maintained her preference of a lower speed on the winding portion and higher elsewhere on the roadway, and shared Councillor Russell’s concerns about dropping the speed on a road that had recently undergone a major infrastructure overhaul.
“You’re right Eric, you just get the road geared up to be better and now you knock us down to have to crawl along to get anywhere,” she said.
Reeve Jaggard acknowledged that the council was not getting toward a consensus and asked for one more round of opinions.
Councillor McKenzie said he was willing to trust Mr. Dunlop’s recommendation for a uniform 70 km/h speed.
Councillor Russell said he still did not expect it to make a difference but that he would support that limit.
Councillor Gordon said 70 km/h would be good as long as there are winding road caution signs, though a 60 km/h speed would be better.
Councillor Leeson said the inconsistency of speed limits may cause problems, saying she had only recently spotted new speed signs in the area of the recent roads project. Mr. Dunlop said the town crews were just getting to putting up the signs again after the construction concluded.
Council ultimately resolved to make the 10th Sideroad 70 km/h in the whole section.