Construction of a roundabout on Wellington Road 109 southeast of Harriston will go ahead next spring, county officials have confirmed.
Wellington County construction manager Mark Eby told the Advertiser a roundabout at the intersection of 109, Wellington Road 5 (White’s Road) and the Eighth Line of Minto was added to the county’s five-year plan for review two years ago to determine if it would fit.
“It does fit and the county will be proceeding with construction in 2016, starting first thing in the spring, and have it completed by the August long weekend, well in advance of the IPM in September,” Eby stated in an email.
Construction costs for the project are expected to be similar to those for a roundabout under construction at Wellington Roads 12 and 8 in Mapleton.
Tenders for that project came in at just under $1 million.
“There will be more paving involved as we will pave from Harriston to the roundabout to clean everything up,” Eby notes.
While not sure if the project would go to tender in the fall or over the winter, Eby pointed out a fall tender would allow the county to budget more precisely.
Safety concerns are behind the county’s decision to build a roundabout.
“There have been fatalities at that intersection in the past and the county and OPP would like that to stop. A roundabout will be the only way for that to occur,” Eby stated.
Eby said Town of Minto officials are also in favour of the roundabout “as they too do not want any more fatalities.”
Minto Mayor and Wellington County Warden George Bridge agreed safety is a concern at the intersection.
“That’s been a bad corner for us … we’ve had two deaths there because people go through the stop sign,” said Bridge.
Another benefit of the roundabout at that location is that it should slow traffic down entering and exiting Harriston at the south end, Eby pointed out.
“For your local traffic it will be a blessing. It might slow down your beach traffic but that’s not a bad thing,” said Bridge, noting that long weekend traffic often makes it difficult for motorists attempting to access Wellington Road 109 from intersecting roads.
“What I’m hoping will happen is it will slow people down coming into Harriston which has always been a problem,” he added.
Bridge agreed the roundabout is the best way to improve safety at the corner.
“A (traffic) light isn’t preferable because it’s going to back traffic up and we already have the one in Harriston.”
Although traffic currently backs up past the intersection on occasional summer weekends, Bridge doesn’t think the roundabout would exacerbate the situation, comparing it to a roundabout on Highwayt 85 near St. Jacobs.
“I’ve talked to engineers on that. Sometimes that one backs up, it just means that it’s a yield situation. It’s almost like a four way stop then,” he explained, adding “That would be a rare occasion on ours.”
Bridge also said problems are not anticipated with large farm equipment or trucks.
“I know tractor trailers can go through,” he said, adding that after viewing demonstrations and tests at existing roundabouts, Wellington Federation of Agriculture officials “have been fine with” the roundabout concepts in Mapleton and Arthur.
While roundabout construction won’t begin until 2016, excess material from the Elora Street reconstruction in Harriston is currently being stockpiled near the intersection for use once the roundabout project gets underway.