As outlined on the Saugeen Shores municipal website, in May 2017, the County of Bruce, as the proponent, with the Town of Saugeen Shores, as a principle partner, completed a Master Plan to plan various road and drainage undertakings within a broad area central to Saugeen Shores along Bruce Roads 25 and 33 (BR25 & BR33).
The Master Plan identified several projects including the re-construction of BR25 from the Town’s planned alignment of Bruce Street (from the north) to Goderich Street.
The County initiated the process to plan the re-construction of BR25 as considered in the Master Plan. The project is being planned under Schedule ‘B’ of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA), as outlined in the MCEA Manual prepared by the Municipal Engineers Association (2015).
Alternative solutions that are now being considered include the following:
- Alternative 1: Do Nothing
- Alternative 2: Construct a two-lane urbanized cross section along BR25 (Goderich Street to future Bruce Street)
- Alternative 3: Construct a four-lane urbanized cross section along BR25 (Goderich Street to future Bruce Street)
Although the Master Plan considered a four-lane urban cross section, the background studies completed since then have identified Alternative 2, re-construction of BR25 with a two-lane urbanized cross section between Goderich Street and the future Bruce Street, as the Preliminary Recommended Solution.
The Master Plan and the Schedule ‘B’ Project File (Version 1) for the BR25 re-construction, which includes background reports and provides a review and assessment of the alternatives considered, are available on the County and Town websites and at their offices for viewing purposes.
The key purpose of the master plan’s four-lane section of CR25 and bypass was to handle Bruce Power traffic, especially when Highway 21 is closed, new planned subdivisions that are planned to be built on CR 25 and all the while improving service to existing full-time residents as well as growing seasonal resident/tourist traffic demands.
According to the Port Elgin Beachers’ Organization, “We have all seen it (traffic) backed up at the light at Highway 21 for miles along CR 33 trying to get into town with police present to waive traffic through. We had assumed in the worst case traffic senario some traffic would divert along Bruce St. and at the light at Highway 21 BOTH lanes of the expanded CR25 would be allowed to turn left. Summer traffic complaints accessing the town are also on the rise. Now with this unexplained change all of these intentioned uses seem to be at risk.”
The Organization goes on to say that, for some unexplained reason, a fourth three-lane option was not offered. The middle lane could be an East/West flex turning lane allowing left turns in both of the two lanes running eastbound up to the highway. This mid-lane would also allow safe turns into the residences on both sides of CR 25 from the highway to Bruce St. and keep traffic flowing that would be stopped with just two lanes.
A significant part of the town’s anticipated new residential growth will happen in subdivisions planned for the north side of CR 25 as people can walk to shop and the beach.
Hundreds of new homes will increase traffic into and out of town along CR25 requiring the originally planned four lanes.
“It’s very frustrating to see arbitrary changes made after the issuance of master plans, the related public announcements and after submissions were made on the traffic study,” says Greg Schmalz, President of the Beachers Organization. “This reversion back to two lanes seems very non progressive and ill matched to scale and intent of this master plan project combining traffic, drainage and recreational multi purpose pathway needs. It seems out of sync with current, let alone, future traffic demands. We hope the originally planned and, publicly announced, four lanes will be the chosen option with three lanes the fall-back solution. Status quo two lanes with a Bruce St. outlet is unsatisfactory.”
Written comments are invited from the public, and will be received by the Study Team until March 24th, 2020. Contact information is provided below.
Mr. Jim Donohoe, P.Eng.
30 Park Street, Box 398 Walkerton, ON N0G 2V0
The Town of Saugeen Shores
Ms. Amanda Froese, P.Eng.
600 Tomlinson Drive, Box 820 Port Elgin, ON N0H 2C0
GM BluePlan Engineering Limited Mr. John Slocombe, P.Eng.
1260-2nd Avenue East, Unit 1 Owen Sound, ON N4K 2J3