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Changes may be coming to West Nipissing’s “worst intersection”

West Nipissing Council has voted for a potential traffic impact study at the intersection of Coursol and Front St. / Highway 17.

Mayor Joanne Savage said the intersection is one of the most dangerous across the Municipality, with a high number of accidents happening there yearly.

Public Works Manager, Shawn Remillard, advised council that the only way to slow down the high rate of collisions would be to construct left-turning lanes, similar to the Nipissing and Front St. intersection.

Remillard said that an advanced green light wouldn’t be enough to alleviate collisions, because if the vehicle in the left lane is going straight, the vehicles behind that will still have to wait before turning left, continuing to back up traffic.

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All of council agreed that a study is a good idea and a cost for the study should be looked into by Remillard.

Remillard has shared that he has been in conversation with the Ministry of Transportation asking them about similar past projects for an approximate of what a project of this magnitude would cost.

“It’s going to be a significant cost, for sure,” he said. “Anytime you blow up an intersection… it’s a big deal.”

Remillard suggested that work be done on Coursol St. simultaneously, widening the street and adapting the existing sidewalk for a third, right turning lane. Which he says would reduce southbound traffic from Coursol to the highway.

“When you’re heading towards the highway from John Street on Coursol [St], it gets congested at times. There isn’t enough room for a vehicle to pass on the right side, and turn right (west) onto the intersection. It creates back up often times all the way back onto John St.. Creating a middle lane would alleviate that problem as well. If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right.”

Councillor Leo Mallette added that the intersection is part of the connecting link, which transforms Highway 17 into Front St, and some provincial money from various government branches and organizations (like The Ontario Good Roads Association ) might alleviate costs to the municipality.

Councillor Dan Roveda says that it’s only a matter of time before a pedestrian gets killed at the intersection.

“Busses in the morning are lined up right to John St.,” he shared. “There’s a lot of blind spots. Do an analysis, find out how much it’s going to cost us, and then let’s make a delegation to the province. It is a connecting road, and it’s not just our responsibility but the responsibility to the province as well.”

Remillard says that he is working on having an approximate budgetary cost for the impact study by the next council meeting.

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