The intersection of Sawmill and Ebycrest roads near Bloomingdale is the latest candidate for conversion to a roundabout. Waterloo Region has the project slated for 2024.
Right now, the region is soliciting feedback from the public via its EngageWR forum.
“We have our Engage website up and running, collecting survey responses from the public so they can weigh in on how they feel about a roundabout at this intersection,” explained Jeff Nyenhuis, senior engineer, transportation expansion, with the regional government.
The project is in the preliminary stage, with initial design work underway. More details will be worked out as construction grows closer. The initial budget is $1.1 million.
Only recently signalized, the intersection doesn’t appear as strong a candidate for roundabout conversion as other spots in the township, suggest Woolwich Coun. Larry Shantz.
“There are a number of other places that are far more important than that corner. One would be further down on Fountain and Menno (streets) – that would be a good spot, and also at the other end, at Shantz Station and Kossuth (roads),” he said in discussing the plan at a Woolwich council meeting last week.
Nyenhuis noted the numbers add up at that intersection.
“The reason why we selected this intersection to be considered for a roundabout is that the temporary traffic signals that were installed, that was an interim measure based on warrants to implement intersection control measures,” he said. “Based on safety, performance, traffic capacity and total life cycle costing, staff were considering a single-lane roundabout because a roundabout would result in fewer injury collisions, fewer delays to motorists than the existing traffic signals.
“A roundabout generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a traffic signal. And it would also provide traffic-calming measures in the Rosendale community.”
After reviewing public comments, engineering staff expect to bring a report to regional council by late-spring or summer, with detailed design work scheduled to be carried out through to the winter of 2023. The work will be sent to tender in spring of 2024, to be followed by construction currently slated to begin in May of that year.
“Traffic that uses this intersection will be impacted during the roundabout construction,” said Nyenhuis. “When we finish our design construction, staging and appropriate detours will be established based on the construction scope and traffic management options.
“Our staff will work with Woolwich township staff and emergency services to make a staging plan and detour plans, and we’ll communicate those plans with the public well in advance of the construction.”
Shantz said he’ll be interested to see how traffic is maintained through the intersection during the construction phase. A full detour would be a long one for drivers.
He questioned the rationale for the roundabout given how traffic volumes are seldom an issue, noting that some of the peak-time backlogs would be solved by a right-turn lane where Ebycrest Road meets Sawmill Road.
“First of all, I was surprised when I saw the lights go up in there in the first place. Yeah, there are a couple of times a day when traffic backs up on Ebycrest a little bit, trying to get out onto Sawmill Road or Bloomingdale road going the other direction, but typically I think traffic flows well from Breslau,” he said. In my view, if they would have put a right-hand turn lane there, that would have solved the problem, because you only need one or two cars turning left and then it backs up, especially now that the light is there.”