At Monday’s Council meeting, Executive Director of Planning and Development John Connolly presented a report regarding the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) submission outlining the results of a study of the traffic issues at the four-way stop in the hamlet of Cavan.
Conducted by engineering consulting firm WSP, the analysis investigated alternative solutions to traffic issues at the intersection at Highway 7A and County Rd. 10 to address growing peak traffic, intersection delays for northbound travel, collisions and challenging access to commercial properties at the intersection.
Among the alternatives considered were traffic signals using the existing configuration; a roundabout; and three different alterations to County Rd. 10 approaches to Highway 7A. A Public Information Centre was held in late January and a second is expected later this year when the consultant will identify the preferred intersection configuration prior to the completion of a Transportation Environmental Study scheduled for this fall.
Only the three of the five solutions were selected by the consultant as viable options. All three require the installation of traffic lights and a significant realignment of County Rd. 10 to make the intersecting roads line up better to improve sightlines, and involve the displacement of homes and/or commercial properties located at the intersection, with “edge” impacts to other properties.
The first preferred alternative labeled “1B” realigns County Rd. 10 to the west, creating a perpendicular intersection, displacing five homes and affected the perimeter of three other homes, two commercial properties and the gas station for a total of eleven properties. The second alternative, “1C”, realigns County Rd. 10 to the east, displacing two commercial properties and the gas station with perimeter impact on three more homes and one development property for a total of seven. The final option results in a skewered intersection – ie not perpendicular- and displaces five residences and the gas station with perimeter impact on three homes and one commercial property for a total of ten affected properties. This alternative improves sightlines but does not meet right turn requirements.
As a key stakeholder, the township has the opportunity to weigh in on the proposal. The staff report acknowledged the difficulties that would arise from any of the proposed solutions, but supported the efforts to improve the safety of the intersection for the public. Their recommendation was to support Alternative 1B, which incorporates traffic signals and the realignment of County Rd 10 to the west. This alternative displaces five residential properties and affects the perimeter of six more, but retains the existing commercial properties.
Council members expressed surprised by the lack of feedback to date from affected residents, some of whom would lose their homes in the proposal, and questioned the timeliness and method of communication about the project to the community. Councillor Moore who lives close to the intersection, received a notification on Thursday with a deadline to provide comments four days later. Another property owner indicated they had received a notice on February 19th about the January Information meeting. Council members also questioned the need for such dramatic changes to the intersection, feeling all three remaining options on the table were overkill.
There was general agreement that the proposed road realignments would alter the character of a long standing community and create undue hardship on displaced residents.
Despite its rejection by the consultant, Council expressed support Alternative 1A, involving the installation of traffic signals in the existing configuration, supplemented by flashing lights installed ahead of the intersection to warn of traffic signals ahead. They have asked for a meeting with the Minister of Transportation to discuss the project to express their concerns.
Complete details of the study can be found on page 41 of the March 1st Cavan-Monaghan Council agenda. KG