Businesses in downtown Port Dover are preparing for another summer of traffic disruption along a major arterial route into the core.
This will begin next spring and last possibly into August while the Ministry of Transportation constructs a roundabout installation on Highway 6 next to the Dover Coast subdivision.
Norfolk council has agreed that affected east-west traffic will detour around the construction zone via Woodhouse Concession 2, which connects Cockshutt Road and Highway 6 east of the lift bridge.
“Council needs to anticipate that there will be some grumbling along this stretch of road,” Mayor Kristal Chopp told council on July 14. “But something is being given back to the community for the pain and suffering.”
That benefit includes a $200,000 community contribution from Dover Coast Development, sponsor of a huge subdivision on the east side of Port Dover east of the water tower.
Of this, $75,000 will go into Norfolk’s road reconstruction reserve fund. Another $25,000 will be devoted to a parking study in downtown Port Dover.
Dover Coast will contribute another $100,000 to general community improvement. The money will be spent in partnership with the Port Dover Board of Trade.
“This is an example of working with developers to drive development and provide benefit to the community,” CAO Jason Burgess and public works interim general manager Jason Godby said in a report to council.
A “roundabout” is a circular intersection design common in Europe. They are promoted as an effective alternative to stop lights because they keep traffic flowing in all four directions. They are becoming increasingly common in Canada.
“It moves traffic continuously,” Burgess said. “You don’t get the delays you would with a stop light. Studies show they facilitate traffic movements.”
Staff considered construction of a temporary bypass around the construction zone, which will focus on Highway 6 at the intersection of Dover Coast Boulevard.
However, a bypass would add two months to construction. MTO expects to begin work next spring and wrap up in time for the massive Friday the 13th motorcycle rally expected in Port Dover in August 2021.
“Municipal consent is required,” Godby said. “MTO cannot force traffic off its routes onto our routes without our consent.”
Port Dover Coun. Amy Martin expects to hear complaints about speed and increased traffic volume on Woodhouse Road 2, which, under normal circumstances, is a quiet country road. Chopp doesn’t expect heavy truck traffic to be a problem. Most trucks, she said, favour St. John’s Road in and out of the Nanticoke Industrial Park nearby.
Field trials have determined that the detour route will add three minutes travel time for motorists exiting downtown Port Dover to Highway 6 south of Jarvis. Norfolk County has asked Dover Coast to contribute $100,000 on account of the additional wear-and-tear Woodhouse Road 2 will incur.
Burgess is confident the roundabout will be in place and functional by the Friday the 13th deadline.
“When they (MTO) undertake construction, they seem fairly effective in meeting their timelines,” he said.
Businesses in downtown Port Dover have experience with traffic disruptions, starting five years ago with the phased reconstruction of Main Street. That project was spread over three summers.