An engineering consulting firm is recommending a series of “non-intrusive” solutions to relieve traffic congestion on Abbott Street in Smiths Falls during boating season.
The swing bridge that opens to allow boats on the Rideau Canal to pass through regularly backs up traffic all the way to Highway 43, a problem exacerbated when the Confederation Bridge was closed for safety reasons in 2015.
The Ainley Group consulting firm, hired to study traffic congestion at the Abbott and Lombard Street intersection, made an initial presentation to council at the end of March. Following a public open house held in April, the group prepared its final set of recommendations, which were presented by Senior Project Manager Bob Boutilier at a meeting of council’s Committee of the Whole Oct. 10.
Steps recommended in the report cost a total of $294,000. Boutilier said one option, installing a traffic roundabout, was not feasible because it would have required buying out all property owners bordering on that intersection.
The recommended measures include “traffic signal optimization” and installing variable message signage. Engineering design and tender specifications will cost an estimated $65,000. The total cost also includes $100,000 for traffic signal optimization (accomplished through the installation of new software) on Lombard and Abbott Streets, and $130,000 for traffic signal optimization at the Lombard/Beckwith Street intersection. Variable message signs, intended to warn drivers on Highway 43 and Beckwith Street to take alternate routes when the Abbott Street bridge is open, will cost an additional $64,000.
When these plans were outlined at the April 26 public open house, Boutilier commented, input from the public was “overwhelmingly positive.”