Au­gusta wants crack­down on de­tour traf­fic

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - FRONT PAGE - WAYNE LOWRIE

Au­gusta Town­ship coun­cil wants the On­tario Provini­cal Po­lice to crack down on truck­ers who speed along ru­ral roads when High­way 401 is blocked.

Deputy Mayor Bill Buck­ler said County Road 26, which passes through Maynard in front of the town­ship of­fices, be­comes a “race­way” dur­ing in­ci­dents on the 401 such as the bus col­li­sion last week that killed three Chi­nese tourists and sent dozens to hospi­tal.

He said the town­ship must do some­thing to calm the traf­fic be­fore some­one is se­ri­ously hurt as col­lat­eral dam­age be­cause of the high­way clo­sures and slow­downs.

“It’s not funny any­more,” said Buck­ler in urg­ing the town­ship take ac­tion through the po­lice or signs.

He said one frus­trated res­i­dent has sug­gested – half se­ri­ously – that res­i­dents stand along the roads and point hair dry­ers at mo­torists to fool them into think­ing they were hold­ing radar guns.

Ray Mor­ri­son, chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer, said the town­ship has an elec­tronic sign that records speeds and tells mo­torist to slow down, but it is be­ing used on Mac­in­tosh Road, which is also a pre­ferred de­tour for truck­ers.

Mor­ri­son said the town­ship has posted “Slow Down, Res­i­den­tial Area” mes­sages on the sign at the town­ship of­fices, which has had some suc­cess in slow­ing the traf­fic.

He sug­gested that the town­ship could try other, more threat­en­ing mes­sages, to in­flu­ence mo­torists.

When there’s an in­ci­dent on the 401, the Grenville OPP de­tach­ment has its hands full deal­ing with the cri­sis, leav­ing no of­fi­cers to en­force speed lim­its, Mor­ri­son said.

Truck­ers seem to know this, and they bar­rel down town­ship roads like they are on the high­way, he added.

Coun. Adrian Wy­nands said the OPP should be told to en­force the speed lim­its, or re­duce the fees that they charge the town­ship.

“If that is the ser­vice that we are get­ting then why are we pay­ing what we are pay­ing ?” he asked.

Wy­nands said the lo­cal OPP should bring in of­fi­cers from other de­tach­ments when there are prob­lems on the 401.

Wy­nands added the truck­ers also don’t re­spect farm equip­ment trav­el­ling down the roads of the ru­ral town­ship.

Mayor Doug Malanka promised to raise the com­plaints at the next po­lice board meet­ing.

He sug­gested that, if truck­ers knew that fines could be dou­bled dur­ing emer­gen­cies, then the word would get around among the driv­ers.

Dur­ing last week’s bus crash, CBC Ra­dio traf­fic re­porters were telling lis­ten­ers on High­way 416 to exit at Spencerville and go down to County Road 26 to avoid the 401 mess, Malanka said.

Truck­ers use their GPSs to avoid traf­fic tie-ups re­gard­less of which roads are des­ig­nated as emer­gency routes, he added.

FILE PHOTO Fire­fight­ers and po­lice of­fi­cers re­spond to a se­ri­ous col­li­sion in­volv­ing a bus west of Prescott on High­way 401 on Mon­day, June 4, near Prescott, the lat­est ma­jor in­ci­dent that re­quired a de­tour off the 401 onto lo­cal ru­ral roads.

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