“As far as I’m concerned, they’re just calling for an accident to happen,” said Mayor Paula Assaly of Hawkesbury. “They’re just making it worse, rather than better.”
“I don’t agree with their reasons, I don’t agree with their analysis,” said Mayor Normand Riopel of Champlain Township. “I think it’s a dollar sign thing.”
The two mayors responded to the Ministry of Transportation’s continuing defence of its reconstruction plan design for the Hawkesbury overpass on County Road 17. The ministry plans to replace the westbound on-ramp connection from Highway 34 to the county road with a traffic-controlled T-intersection. Both mayors and also the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) have expressed concern that the T-intersection will create a potential accident situation for transport truck traffic from Highway 34 trying to turn onto the county road.
Mayor Assaly noted that the T-intersection is proposed just for the westbound on-ramp, and not also for the eastbound on-ramp as the Tribune Express reported in a previous article. She said the ministry design report she read does propose changing the existing eastbound off-ramp connection from the overpass down to Highway 34. The ministry plan is to move the turnoff entry point further down the road to a site almost directly across from the proposed westbound T-intersection.
“They are going to make the (eastbound) turnoff sharper than before,” said Mayor Assaly. “That is not good.”
Both mayors and Warden Pierre Leroux of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell repeated warnings that the ministry will be held responsible for any accidents that occur where the T-intersection design proves to be the cause.
“I have sent a letter to the Ministry of Transportation that speaks to our position,” said Warden Leroux. “They have to be able to take responsibility for what could happen.”