It has happened again— and, as in the past, nothing will be done to prevent it from happening in the future.
“It” is yet another serious collision at the intersection of SDG County Road 19 (aka South Branch Road) and SDG County Road 27 (aka Summerstown Road).
Late afternoon, Oct 2, another bad collision occurred at this crossroads. Once again, and probably largely due to the safety features of modern vehicles, no one was killed— but four people were taken to hospital while first responders and tow trucks were left to clean up the mess and figure out what happened.
Both of these roads are open, well maintained, smooth county roads with paved bike/pedestrian lanes either side. SDG19, carrying east/west traffic, has the right of way, while SDG27 traffic must stop in both north and south directions to give way. Painted lines on the road and large stop signs make this clear, yet at least twice a year this location is the scene of horrible collisions between traffic travelling through the intersection.
Both are fairly busy. SDG19 is a main road carrying traffic to and from Cornwall for many living in the Williamstown area and beyond, especially if they prefer to not use Highway 401. It is not a straight road by any means, with countless twists and turns going up and down hills.
SDG27, runs from County Road 2 on the river, over the 401 and ends north of County Road 19 at SDG18 (aka The King’s Road) and Chapel Road. It connects to the 401, so is a popular road to access and exit the highway. It is a straighter road than 19 and every bit as good. Its entire length, its traffic has the right of way— except at the crossroads with SDG19.
Both roads have a posted speed limit of 80 km/h. At times I feel I am the only one who adheres to the limit as the average motorist hits 90 to 100 km/h on these roads, as appears to be the norm on rural roads. Occasionally one comes across a vehicle going 60 km/h, probably more dangerous than the speeders.
If you drive on the South Branch Road enough, you will eventually have a close call with another vehicle at this intersection. I know I have had a few, as have friends and family. Mine have always been while travelling eastbound and the problem vehicle always come across the bridge from the south.
All but one ran the stop sign ahead of me. One, for reasons unknown, pulled out in front of me causing me to swerve around the back of his car and missing a collision by mere inches.
My non-expert opinion is because they have right of way all the way except at SDG19, drivers on SDG27 do not expect to have to stop. Or is it another reason?
The intersection of SDG27 and the Glen Road, several miles to the south, used to be as bad until a flashing light was installed reminding traffic on the Glen it had to stop for SDG27. Could that improve the situation here too?
A South Glengarry council member has said local residents need to make a petition to be presented to the SDG council. That, however, would be too time consuming for me to take on.
Instead, if you agree an orange and red flashing light hanging above this dangerous intersection is needed, write to SDG Warden, and South Glengarry Mayor Frank Prevost at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or SDG director of transportation and planning services Ben de Haan at email@example.com.
If you don’t like writing, send a copy of this column along with your name and address.
It will no doubt take a few years for all the necessary studies to be done and approved, but maybe something will be done before people are killed here. That was what it took to get flashing lights at the intersection with the Glen Road.