Wellesley Township residents are pleading with regional council to do something about the frequent accidents – often fatal – at the Herrgott Road and Ament Line intersection.
Butch Voisin presented a petition with 300 signatures to Wellesley council on Tuesday night asking them to have regional traffic engineers look at the intersection again and find a solution.
Butch’s wife, Lori, walked away from a serious two-vehicle accident at that intersection in February, where both cars were totalled. This prompted them to bring the issue back to the forefront.
“That was a big part, but I live on Herrgott Road right in the village of St. Clements and as a retired Waterloo firefighter I see the trucks going by here all the time and I’m thinking ‘oh my God, they’re going to that intersection again,’” Voisin said.
They were joined at council by Linda Lorentz and Pam Ringrose who lost a young daughter/granddaughter to an accident at that intersection. Holly McGill was also at council in support of the petition, as someone familiar with the intersection due to her connection to local firefighters often dispatched to that intersection.
“The Lorentz family and the Ringrose family gathered approximately 2,000 signatures and proceeded to a meeting at regional council. And at that time the region identified this intersection is very dangerous and installed rumble strips on Ament Line and a red flashing light. Recently the speed limit on Herrgott was reduced from 80 to 60, although serious and fatal accidents continue to occur. This intersection is very busy with three local feed mills, trucking companies, school buses, large tractors hauling 45-foot dump trailers, horse-and-buggy traffic, car traffic and lots of motorcycle traffic,” Voisin said in an interview after the meeting.
He says exactly one month after his wife’s accident, there was another woman from St. Clements in a bad crash there. The same thing happened where a driver failed to obey the stop sign.
“There was a woman killed from Elmira back in November of last year, so it’s just ongoing,” Voisin said.
He notes that as a retired first responder he knows what it’s like to pull people out of wrecked cars. In a small community the first responders are volunteers and likely know the victims or know relatives, friends, or neighbours of the victims, making it that much more difficult to see.
“I think the rumble strips and the flashing light may have been a good idea at the time, which was about 10 years ago, but what about the near misses that occur? Many people who have signed this petition have all seen close calls and near-misses,” Voisin said.
He notes he spoke with Mayor Joe Nowak about the intersection shortly after his wife’s accident and Nowak encouraged Voisin to start a petition and bring it to council. Voisin now hopes council will bring this matter to regional council’s attention.
When asked what he recommends to be done, Voisin says he doesn’t have the solution, but there must be one.
“It’s just that something has to be done. I’m not a traffic engineer. So whether it’s a set of lights or a roundabout,” Voisin said.
He notes the region has admitted the intersection continues to be a problem, and yet, coming out of Hawkesville heading west there’s an oversized stop sign and heading east going from Linwood it’s a regular size stop sign. He’d like to see them both be large so drivers are more aware of the upcoming stop.
In speaking with the community since starting the petition, he says he’s had great support.
“I went around to some of the trucking companies and they said ‘yes, by all means, we’ve got to get something done here.’ It’s ridiculous,” Voisin said.
Wellesley’s general manager of community services, Kevin Beggs, will now work on a report regarding the intersection, which will be reviewed by senior staff and then Wellesley council before council gives its recommendation to take it to regional council.
“This intersection must be revisited and regardless of budget issues I feel this is very time sensitive and should be dealt with immediately,” Voisin said.