Summer plans underway for possible speed reduction on Highway 26

·2 min read

With hoards of traffic expected in the South Georgian Bay this summer, area officials are looking to preemptively establish safety measures on Highway 26 between Collingwood and Thornbury.

This week, representatives from Collingwood, the Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM), Grey County, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ministry of Transportation will be holding a meeting to discuss and develop an action plan for the roadway.

“We're really looking at it from Thornbury all the way through to Collingwood, not just certain segments as it's fairly segmented already in terms of different sections and speed limits,” said Shawn Carey, director of operations for TBM.

MTO representatives are expected to present a few possible options for the roadway with the goal of increasing pedestrian and vehicular safety.

“We also want to look at some continuity of the speed limit between Thornbury and Collingwood,” Carey added.

The multi-stakeholder meeting comes after almost a year of advocacy from TBM council and calls from residents to MTO to address the growing concern.

Last summer, TBM Mayor Alar Soever made a direct request to the premier to have the speed limit reduced.

Soever's request was granted and from July 10 to Oct. 13 MTO reduced the speed limit from 80 km/h to 50 km/h from Delphi Lane to Grey Road 21.

“I think the important thing is that the speed was reduced quickly,” Soever said. "But, I'm glad that this year we have a little more time to do this properly.”

Since last summer, TBM staff have been working with MTO to find suitable solutions. Along with installing temporary traffic counters and collecting traffic data, TBM council members also presented a delegation to the Minister of Transportation at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference, which was held in November.

In late January, safety concerns were back in the spotlight after a head-on collision along the same stretch of road claimed the life of a 60-year-old Collingwood resident.

TBM council is expected to receive a staff report following the meeting that will outline the outcomes and next steps forward.

No date has been provided for the forthcoming staff report, however according to Carey, the intent is to have a council-supported initiative implemented by summer 2021.

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca