Remove speed curve at Eagle Hill intersection, resident urges county

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 12:35 pm | John Gleeson

Mountain View County was urged again last week to follow through on a 2010 engineering report and take corrective actions at the intersection of Rge. Rd. 44 and Twp. Rd. 340.

Appearing before council’s policies and priorities committee last Wednesday, Peggy Johnson added her voice to those of two other concerned residents who have lobbied council for changes during the past seven months.

Johnson asked councillors to adopt one of the AMEC report’s recommendations – to obliterate a speed curve and to restore the intersection as a four-way stop.

“Because this is the most likely place for a collision I believe this is where the correction should start,” Johnson said, adding that she understood council would have to do the project in stages as funds become available.

The AMEC report clearly describes the intersection as “collision prone,” she said, “and that was before the oil and gas industry expanded and created this exponential increase in traffic.”

Even without the oilfield traffic, motorists use the route to access Eagle Valley Community Centre, Eagle Valley Cemetery, the Howard Smith Roping Arena, the Forest Heights Golf Course, the Eagle Hill Co-op and the area’s growing residential component.

The cemetery, located half a mile west of the intersection, was opened in 1907 “and as of January 2005 there have been 255 burials there,” Johnson said. “This is not a small community. It’s getting bigger every day.”

Div. 6 Coun Paddy Munro congratulated Johnson on giving “the best presentation I’ve heard since I came on council.” Oil and gas activity intensifying in the area “is the bad news and there’s more coming,” he concurred.

However, the community is split over the issue, Munro said.

“There’s people wanting stop signs but there’s just as many people who don’t, including school bus drivers.”

Johnson said the school bus driver for the area might have changed her opinion on the intersection’s safety after an incident that occurred before Christmas.

“Those perceptions are there, but they may not be accurate,” Johnson said.

Last September, resident Sharon Roth appeared before P&P to urge the county to reconstruct the intersections of Twp. Rd. 340 and range roads 43 and 44, both deemed unsafe in the AMEC report. “Is it going to take a fatality in our area … to have something like that fixed?” Roth asked councillors at the time.

In November, Kim Mildenstein asked the county to implement short-term solutions – including a reduced speed limit – until the complete upgrade is scheduled. The speed reduction plan was abandoned by council later that month, but three new stop signs were installed.

When asked last week how the traffic issues were different from hundreds of others in the county, Johnson said, “Have other people come to council three times to have their road changed?

The intersections are “a major, major problem,” she said. “It’s a major problem for this county and it needs a repair.”

Deputy reeve Patricia McKean advised Johnson that council would give the matter further discussion at a future meeting.


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