Roundabout road empty of vehicles

Stock image. Roundabout may not be exactly as shown.

Five-leg roundabout first of several in works for Petawawa Blvd

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday November 4, 2021

A roundabout is coming to the intersection of Petawawa Boulevard, Doran Road, Mohns Avenue and Hilda Street.

After a presentation by the County of Renfrew and AECOM, Petawawa Council agreed to the installation of a five-leg roundabout in this location. The decision was announced during their Oct. 18 meeting, and it is the culmination of nearly two decades of advocating for better traffic measures.

Council chose the five-leg roundabout after being presented with this option and another for a four-leg roundabout, which would create a cul-de-sac at Hilda Street.

Traffic at peak hours in and out of Garrison Petawawa greatly affects the quality of life of defence team personnel and their families.

“That is unacceptable in this day and age to wait for 45 minutes or even longer to get to work,” said Mayor Bob Sweet. “I think this is a great step forward.”

Building a roundabout is just one part of the town’s plan to alleviate traffic on the boulevard. Two other roundabouts are in the works including one at the intersection of Petawawa Boulevard, Victoria Street and Portage Road and one at the main entrance to Garrison Petawawa.

It will be a multi-partnership project and more funding is needed before this can proceed.

Though the addition of roundabouts to Petawawa Boulevard has been agreed upon, the town and its Mayor plan to continue their fight for a second bridge and the boulevard expansion to four lanes.

“You cannot take the problem from the front yard and shove it to the backyard,” said Sweet. “You get 5,000 cars and you move them up the road a little bit, you still get 5,000 cars.”

He noted the Garrison has done a stellar job with traffic inside its gates, but without altering the fundamental infrastructure of the roads leading to the Garrison, there will still be traffic.

“(The Garrison) is by far the biggest economic driver within the County of Renfrew and I think that they deserve to get to work on time,” said Sweet. “They shouldn’t spend two hours on the road to drive four kilometres. That is unacceptable.”

Roundabouts are not common locally, and there were multiple safety concerns raised that were addressed during the presentation. One included residents’ unfamiliarity with roundabouts. The proposed solution was educating the public on road rules to ensure drivers are fully aware of how to use one safely.

The business community will also need to be consulted before the project moves forward, said Sweet.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), roundabouts are a safer alternative to traffic signals and stoplights and improve traffic flow.

They reduce injury from crashes by 72 to 80 per cent, and there is an overall reduction in all crashes of 35 to 47 per cent.