Truck traffic to be encouraged to use bypass around Fergus

GUELPH – Truck traffic will be encouraged to use Wellington Roads 7 and 17 to bypass Fergus under a plan approved by Wellington County council on Feb. 27.

The concept was recommended in the Township of Centre Wellington’s first comprehensive Transportation Master Plan (TMP), which was approved by township council on May 27, 2019.

The county was consulted as an advisory stakeholder for the TMP and participated as a technical agency, explained county engineer Don Kudo in a staff report.

The truck bypass around Fergus is intended ease the rate of congestion on the Highway 6 corridor through Fergus, as well as improve walkability in the downtown and reduce truck noise impacts along the route, the report states.

Five bypass options were considered through the TMP.  The option of directing truck traffic north on Wellington Road 7 at Highway 6 to Wellington Road 17 east connecting to Highway 6 north of Fergus was considered the most cost-effective solution.

“Recent improvements of passing lanes on Wellington Road 7, both north and south of Elora along the recommended bypass route, has resulted in a safe and efficient transportation route for the regional movement of goods and services,” notes Kudo in the report.

“The county road system is designed appropriately with available capacity to accommodate the additional truck traffic.”

The implementation would consist of posting signs on Highway 6 and along Wellington Roads 7 and 17 advising truck operators of the bypass.

“Trucks would still be permitted on Highway 6 through Fergus, but it is hoped that a signed truck bypass route will help reduce the number of trucks travelling through downtown Fergus,” the report states.

“I think the intent and the support from the community really underlines that we want to make our community as liveable as possible,” said councillor Andy Lennox, who chairs the county’s roads committee.

‘Liveable community’

“In Fergus, if we can reduce the amount of truck traffic, then that makes our community a more liveable community.”

Mapleton Mayor Gregg Davidson stressed the bypass should only be considered an alternate route.

“I totally understand the need to have a bypass for Fergus. But to not mention that its coming through another community?” said Davidson.

“You alleviate the pain in Fergus, but you’re adding a little bit to Mapleton on that corner when there is a population in that area. I just want to make sure that it is an alternate route and not a full-on change that forces all the vehicles up there.”

“We expect Alma to actually grow in the next 10 to 15 years,” Davidson continued. “I just want to make sure we’re not taking the traffic from one area and causing some pain in another area.”

Lennox said the plan recognizes, “we’re not going to be able to deter (all) trucks from going through Fergus.

“There would still be commercial activity. Highway 6 is the main corridor. But, again, this really is an alternate route and I think the idea is just direction signage to encourage some traffic to bypass the town of Fergus,” he explained.

Council approved the roads committee recommendation to implement measures outlined in the report for a Fergus truck bypass.