Welcome to Blyth Sign, North End of Town (Photo by Craig Power, © 2016).

A Roundabout In Blyth? County Is Weighing Options, According To Interim CAO

A small delegation from Huron County was under fire at North Huron Council on Monday, with councilors grilling Huron’s Interim CAO over the lack of action over growing safety concerns at one of it’s busiest intersections.

The junction of Huron County Road 25 and Highway 4 through the Village of Blyth has seen the new Cowbell Brewery and a popular Tim Hortons appear on it’s corners in recent years, and the two businesses have increased traffic safety concerns among the public, who have a problem with the lack of safe pedestrian access to both buildings, as well as the speed of traffic traveling in all directions.

Huron County Interim CAO Meighan Wark and County Engineer Steve Lund gave almost the exact same presentation to North Huron Council on December 4th as they gave to Huron County in February, presenting essentially no new data gathered over the summer of 2017. Councilor Bill Knott was very critical of the delegation, saying he had read the report prior, and did not expect to receive the exact same information almost 10 months later.

Wark & Lund’s report notes that 68 km/h is the average speed through the intersection according to the study, which did not use indicators like pedestrian volume or accident data. Lund did note that he felt no accidents at the intersection were “preventable”. He also said no collisions at the intersection involved fatalities, despite rumours of as much as “One death per week” during this summer.

Knott said he was disappointed in the presentation, as well as the lack of action at the county level to alleviate concerns among the public that the intersection is becoming unsafe to travel through. Knott relayed a personal experience to CKNX News saying he was almost broadsided by a truck that used the right turn lane, cutting in front of him. He felt “simple signage and lines” would help traffic flow safely through the intersection, but wasn’t sure why the county refused to look at this possibility.

The Huron Report noted that a roundabout is being considered, although it is a steep ask financially, with estimates around the $1.5M-$2M mark. Knott felt the project would cost as much as $5M, saying the massive amount of grading issues and proper entrances to the Tim Hortons & Cowbell Brewery would make the project hard to complete on-budget from an engineering standpoint.

Huron County recommended monitoring traffic counts over the next 2-3 years, but rejected a recommendation by Wark in February of installing a four-way flashing beacon. Wark stressed they are aware of concerns at this intersection, but there is a process that must be followed at the county level when it comes to these types of projects.