By Chet Greason
Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is proposing the construction of two additional roundabouts on Highway 7 between St. Marys and Stratford: One at Perth Line 20 (at Klomp’s Nursery and Garden Centre) and one at Perth Line 26 (at the Connect Equipment dealership). These would make a total of four roundabouts on the stretch of highway, with two more already approved but not yet constructed at Perth Line 9 (at Wildwood) and Oxford Road 119 (at Woolfy’s restaurant).
MTO Project Engineer Amy McGuire says traffic controls are needed at the busy intersections for people trying to cross or enter the highway from sideroads. “We need consistency along the corridor. We don’t want to have one roundabout, and then a traffic light,” she explains.
Representatives from MTO and Delcan Corporation, the company that has designed and engineered the proposed changes, held a public meeting last week at Shackleton’s Real Estate and Auction Co. just outside of Stratford. There, maps were provided and questions were answered. Input from the public was also collected.
In addiction to the roundabouts and general patch and repair, some work is going to be done on drainage culverts. The MTO also plans on closing a number of entrances to private properties along the highway. Residents who have proposed entryway closures have been notified. “But nothing is written in stone,” clarified Corridor Manager Sylvie Lauzon.
Currently, the plan will be to detour Stratford-bound traffic down Road 119 (formerly Hwy. 19), to Line 28 (Uniondale Sideroad), and then along the Embro Road (Road 113) into Stratford for the duration of the construction.
But some residents and business owners have grown weary of highway construction. Charlie Hammond is one such person who is currently putting together a petition to ask the MTO to stick to nighttime construction, or perhaps find another alternative that will give businesses and tourism a break.
“I’m a little concerned about closing down the highway for 1-2 months per roundabout,” he says. “The detour is quite a way around.
“There’s a lot of people commuting from St. Marys to Stratford,” he adds. “I think another year of construction is an extra stress we don’t need.”
Concerned residents have until Nov. 30 to get their concerns into MTO and Delcan representatives, although McGuire says it’s possible for late responses to trickle in.
To comment, contact McGuire at Amy.McGuire@ontario.ca, Henry Huotari (Consultant Project Manager at Delcan) at email@example.com) or Tisha Doucette (Planning Ecologist for Delcan) at firstname.lastname@example.org.