Township staff recommends dropping speed limit to 60 km/h on paved rural roads

Members of council are mulling over the possibility of reducing the speed limit on more than a dozen paved rural roads across the township.

Responding to a request from council back in March of 2017, Works Director Nick Colucci has prepared a report that recommends reducing the speed on all rural roads that have been double surface treated.

While council asked staff to consider dropping the speed limit on all rural roads, the report recommends leaving it unchanged on gravel roads.

“Since paving a road tempts drivers to increase their speed, it is recommended that the gravel roads be left at the current legislated speed limit of 80 km/h (except where previously reduced) and the double surface treated roads in the rural area be reduced to 60 km/h. This change would have a reduced budget impact, which could be absorbed in the current operating budget,” it reads.

Colucci notes that staff reviewed the safety considerations resulting from the reduction of speed limits.

“Though there is conflicting data available on this subject the consensus is that lower speed limits result in less serious or fatal collisions,” the report reads.

It also references research that shows that a five percent increase in average speed leads to a 10 percent increase in all injury accidents and a 20 percent increase in fatal accidents.

Approximately 160 new speed limit signs will need to be purchased should members of council follow through with the change, Colucci noted.

“The prescribed rate of speed must be posted at the beginning of each speed zone. Signs indicating new speed limits must not be installed until the new maximum speeds are approved and officially authorized,” the report reads.

“According to our review the budgetary considerations to reduce all rural roads from 80 km/h to 60 km/h would require the installation of approximately 160 signs on Township roads. The approximate cost of the purchase of these additional signs would be $7,000 for materials. The cost of labour to install these signs would be in addition to the above amount.”

Colucci went on to explain that a reduced speed limit would also result in a reduction of service standards mandated by the Province.

“A reduction of speed limits would also have some impact on the Minimum Maintenance Service Class of some of our roadways. A reduction of all 80 km/h speed limits to 60 km/h would reduce four Class 3 road sections to Class 4 and 145 Class 4 road sections to Class 5. This reduction in service class would allow staff to better meet the Provincial standards for winter and summer road maintenance,” the report reads.

Members of council are expected to discuss the report at the March 12 meeting of the public works committee.

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