Augusta wants crackdown on detour traffic
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.