County staff, councillors prefer roundabouts to traffic signals at Highway 6 intersections

GUELPH – A roundabout is the preferred approach of Wellington County staff and some councillors to planned upgrades for two Highway 6 intersections south of Fergus.

A staff report presented to the county’s roads committee in February notes the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has commenced a study of preliminary design work and a Class Environmental Assessment on intersection improvements at Highway 6 and Wellington Road 22, which also intersects 8th line Centre Wellington and Guelph/Eramosa.

Discussions between ministry representatives and county staff indicate alternatives under consideration for the intersection are traffic signals or a roundabout.

County staff expressed a preference for a roundabout, noting benefits included improved traffic flow, reduced delay and fuel consumption, lower collision rates and severity, aesthetic, and environmental benefits. 

The report notes the ministry expects the study to continue until early 2025, with construction slated for the spring of 2025. 

“Staff are hoping they can persuade the ministry to go with the roundabout,” councillor Gregg Davidson, who chairs the roads committee, told county councillors on Feb. 29.

Dangerous intersection

Centre Wellington Mayor Shawn Watters pointed out the intersection at Wellington Road 22 “is the site of a lot of traffic, fatalities and accidents.

“My fear of putting a signal light in there is that people try and run these things and we know that serious accidents still happen at these kinds of spots,” he added.

“I don’t believe that the signalization of that is the fix,” agreed councillor James Seeley.

Seeley said he has personally attended many accidents at the corner while working as a firefighter.

“You’re not going to fix the problem with a signal … So I’d like staff to take that away and plead with the MTO,” Seeley stated.

Second one on 2nd Line?

Watters said a roundabout should also be considered at the intersection of Highway 6 and 2nd Line, also slated for upgrades, in his municipality.

“Number two is basically the intersection prior to coming into Fergus and we’re doing a secondary plan all down through that area,” said Watters. 

“That would be a good location for a roundabout, given that roundabouts play a tremendous role in slowing down traffic and giving a sense of entering into something.”