Proposal for shoulder paving on local highways may be impossible

While it might seem like a good idea, councillors here are not overly keen about endorsing Carling Township’s request for support for paving the shoulders of local highways.

The reason is it might not be practical on Highway 6 – and it might not be legal either.

Carling’s proposal asked  for support of a private member’s bill that would require a one-metre paved shoulder on certain provincial highways to improve public safety for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

The issue came up on Jan. 4, and councillor Wayne Stokley wondered if council considered supporting the idea – asking the province to consider paving the shoulders of specific highways.

“It could affect our area with the reconstruction of Highway 6 from Guelph, and south along the bypass or coming into the Morriston area.”

Councillor Susan Fielding was under the impression that “on the King’s Highway, bicycles are not allowed.”

She was unclear if the paved shoulder request is realistic. “To me, they would have to change the entire structure as to how they operate.”

Mayor Dennis Lever was also uncertain of the legalities of provincial roads. But he did not see it being allowed on Highway 6 through Puslinch.

Lever suggested the request is more a regional issue and suggested Stokley contact Carling Township for more details. He added that in Morriston, there would be no room for one metre shoulders.

“But even south of Morriston, I’m not really sure I’d like to see bicycles on that stretch of road.”

He suggested roads parallel to the highway would likely offer a safer alternative.

As a follow up, he referred to a recent meeting regarding the Highway 401 reconstruction and concerns related to the width of the bridges. Lever said there is a section of about three metres on the sides of a bridge that would not be used.

“It is referred to as a safe area, and not designated as bicycles or pedestrians, but there is a substantial space between the roadway and the guardrail.”

Lever said when he asked if the space would accommodate future lanes, he was told the bridge would have to be redone to maintain that safe area.

He anticipated that safe area would provide a venue for pedestrians or bicyclists to cross the bridge.