Better traffic lights wanted on McGill Street

by Gregg Chamberlain - EAP
Better traffic lights wanted on McGill Street
Three intersections along McGill Street need their traffic light systems upgraded. The municipality will apply for a provincial grant that may cover 90 per cent of the cost if approved. (Photo : Gregg Chamberlain)

Hawkesbury has got an application just under the deadline for financial help to improve the traffic lights on McGill Street.

Council approved a recommendation from administration during its November 14 session to apply to the Connecting Links program for a grant to help cover most of the cost for upgrading some of the traffic lights at intersections along McGill Street. Deadline to apply for the grant is November 22.

Two years ago the Ontario transportation ministry reviewed an engineering report on the traffic lights setup for McGill Street. The report noted that “if improvements are not implemented, significant delays to traffic operations will be experienced.”

Hawkesbury council and staff are also dealing with demands for new residential and commercial development approvals that could result in an increase in traffic along McGill Street. In 2021, plans were in place for a complete traffic light replacement at the intersection of McGill Street and Bon Pasteur Street. The municipality applied for a Connecting Links grant-in-aid for that project but was turned down because other projects scored higher on the ministry’s priorities list for grants.

Administration and the public works department are trying again this year and adding two more intersections to the list for traffic light upgrades. The traffic light system at the McGill Street and Spence Street intersection is in the same “poor condition” as the one at the Bon Pasteur intersection. Both need their metal posts and traffic light assembly replaced though a public works department report noted that the concrete pads for the poles may be salvageable.

The traffic light setup at McGill Street and Main Street needs a new computerized operating system. The current one is too old to fix.

Total cost to upgrade the three traffic light setups is about $830,000. A Connecting Links grant could pay for 90 per cent of the cost, leaving the town responsible for about $75,000 in expenses.

The ministry would notify successful Connecting Links grant applicants by spring next year. Administration noted that if the grant is not approved then the municipality will have to create an alternative financing plan for the project because the traffic light systems at those three intersections need upgrading.

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