County taps the brakes on thoroughfare

By James Matthews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Haliburton County will reduce the speed limit on a section of County Road 3 to improve motorist safety.
The speed limit along part of County Road 3 starting at 370-metres south of Minnicock Lake Road to about 2,385-metres north will be lowered to 60 kilometres per hour.
Council heard during its regular meeting Feb. 14 that there have been an increasing number of collisions and a history of road safety concerns along that piece of road involving vehicles turning in and out of private entrances and the public intersection.
Sylvin Cloutier, the county’s deputy director of public works, said the collisions were often caused by excessive speeds, site line visibility, and low reaction time to maneuver safely at the entrances and intersection.
“At these speeds, drivers are unable to react to vehicles entering or exiting the roadway,” he wrote in a report to council.
The change will cost about $1,000 to basically change speed limit signage along that section of road.
In addition to the number of mishaps, county staff used a scoring system by the Transportation Association of Canada to determine the necessity of the speed limit change.
Roads are considered using such criteria as horizontal of vertical geometry of the thoroughfare, average lane width, the presence of roadside hazards, pedestrian exposure to traffic, the road surface, and the number of public road intersections and private driveways.
“The total score for the survey recommended the 60-kilometre speed for that section of road,” Cloutier said. “The results were tabulated and that was the outcome of the study.”
Councillor Cecil Ryall, the deputy mayor of Highlands East, said motorists approach driving on that section of road very much like how they drive on a section of Highway 507 from Gooderham along The Buckhorn.
“And that is who can go down there the fastest and set records,” he said of motorists’ mentality on that highway.
Ryall suggested drivers approach the section of County Road 3 in much the same way, regardless of what the posted speed limit is.
“Is there anything else we can do?” he said. “I’m not comfortable that alone is going to reduce the opportunities for accidents as they’re currently occurring.”
“Other options are basically enforcement,” Cloutier said. “As well, more presence in the area for enforcement of speed limits. For other options, it’s very limited for what we can do for that specific type of road.”
Ryall suggested the county reach out to the OPP and request beefed up enforcement.
Warden Liz Danielsen, the mayor of Algonquin Highlands, said the mayors of the four lower tier municipalities meet regularly with the OPP and can make such a request.
“But we do have to keep in mind that there are a lot of other areas within the county that they get the same request, can you do additional patrols?” she said. “And they’ve only got so many hours when they can do that. But they’re pretty responsive when we’ve asked them to look at a specific area.”