By Katherine Grant
The reconstruction of Mountain Road in Beamsville from King Street to Hillside Drive is the first step towards solving the west end’s truck traffic issue.
“The road is in poor shape, the hydro poles are right at road’s edge, there is nothing separating pedestrians from vehicles,” said Mike DiPaola, Niagara Region’s associate director of transportation.
The planned reconstruction is part of the region’s 0-5 year plan to deal with truck traffic issues, said DiPaola.
If approved in Niagara Region’s 2015 capital budget, the work will be done next year.
Improvements to signage will also be made on Mountain Street as well as on Mountain Street in Grimsby and on Victoria Avenue in Vineland. Traffic calming measures such as cross-banding may also be implemented.
“All these little measures will make the roads safer, that is what we are hoping to achieve,” said DiPaola.
Having a new escarpment crossing doesn’t solve all the exisiting problems, he added.
There are safety issues with all the current roads that cross over the escarpment and the Master Plan – which replaces the former Class Environmental Assessment done back in 1997 – offers solutions to address problems with grading, lack of signage and curbing.
The Master Plan also recommends other measures should these not be effective in reducing the number of accidents.
Traffic patterns on seven existing escarpment roadways were examined as art of the process.
During peak periods, Victoria Avenue sees 104 trucks every hour; Mountain Street, Grimsby sees 43, with Mountain Street, Beamsville next at 20 trucks per hour. The most truck accidents in recent years, took place on Mountain Street, Grimsby.
The study also determined that more than half of the trucks, 53 per cent, had a destination or originated in Grimsby, Lincoln or West Lincoln.
A roundabout could be built at Ridge Road West in Grimsby and steep grades may have to be corrected but those changes are in the 5-15 year part of the master plan.
Instead of outright banning trucks and building an escarpment crossing now, the improvements will be monitored for several years. If they are effective, then a new escarpment crossing won’t be needed.
If not, the region will move ahead with property acquisition for a new escarpment crossing in the Tufford Road/Sann Road areas, identified in the master plan as the preferred location.
All improvements identified in the Master Plan are subject to approvals and funding.
The cost of the master plan was about $440,000.