Members of Smiths Falls town council were pleasantly surprised to learn on March 27 that solutions to relieving traffic gridlock at the intersection of Abbott and Lombard Streets should not be as costly as they thought.
Bob Boutilier of Ainley Group Consulting Engineers attended a meeting of council’s Committee of the Whole to present the recommendations of an in-depth study of traffic patterns at the intersection. The town requested the study in an effort to relieve increased traffic congestion resulting from the closure of the Centennial Bridge for safety reasons in 2015.
No open call for RFPs for town intersection study
The best long-term solution to the problem, said Boutilier, is to replace the existing fixed-time traffic signals with “fully actuated signals,” which would detect when vehicles actually approach the intersection, and change accordingly.
Installation of fully actuated signals would cost about $50,000 to $75,000 per intersection, but still be much cheaper than more “invasive” options such as building extra turn lanes.
Boutilier also recommended that the town invest in a number of computerized signs, which could be used to warn drivers to take another route when the Abbott Street swing bridge is in use, a process which normally results in a long queue of backed-up traffic. Six signs including computer software and training in how to use them, would cost a total of about $50,000, or less than $9,000 per sign, said Boutilier.
Town public works director Troy Dunlop said the recommendations of the study will be shared with the public, and that residents of the affected streets will be invited to provide input at an open house. Residents will be invited by mail, he said.