Regional councillors approve several projects to improve safety and traffic flow on area roads

Region of Waterloo councillors approved a number of projects that will make changes to area roads, including improvements to Ottawa Street and a new roundabout on New Dundee Road. (Andrew Lupton/CBC - image credit)
Region of Waterloo councillors approved a number of projects that will make changes to area roads, including improvements to Ottawa Street and a new roundabout on New Dundee Road. (Andrew Lupton/CBC - image credit)

Regional councillors approved projects that would cost approximately $13.5 million to improve local roads with the goal of increasing safety and traffic flow.

During Wednesday night's council meeting, councillors approved:

  • Improvements on Ottawa Street including a new roundabout, multi-use trail and pedestrian islands.

  • A new roundabout on New Dundee Road.

  • Four new pedestrian crossovers in the region, a school bus loading zone in Kitchener and no right turn on red restrictions at two intersections, one in Waterloo and one in Woolwich Township.

Ottawa Street upgrades

A report to council says the changes to Ottawa Street were the most expensive item approved at $10.1 million. The work will include the area of Ottawa Street between Fischer-Hallman Road and Mowat Boulevard.

Along with adding a roundabout at Westmount Road and Ottawa Street, a multi-use trail and pedestrian islands, the work will also include watermain and storm sewer installation and new sidewalks.

The work is set to begin next month and it's anticipated it would be completed in late 2025.

Two-way traffic on Ottawa Street is expected to continue while construction is underway in 2024, but Ottawa Street is expected to be closed to through traffic from Pinedale Drive to Westmount Road in 2025 for a culvert replacement.

New roundabout on New Dundee Road

Councillors approved a new multi-lane roundabout at New Dundee Road and Strasburg Road in Kitchener.

The staff report to council said the roundabout was recommended "to move anticipated traffic efficiently and provide a solution with known safety benefits for all users of the road corridor."

The report added the project was listed on the Engage WR website and received 150 responses, of which 95 were in favour of the roundabout.

The region's approved budget included $3.2 million for the project to be paid from a reserve fund.

Now, regional staff will work with City of Kitchener staff to acquire property and finalize the design. It's anticipated construction could begin in 2025.

Other traffic controls approved

Councillors also approved a report with a number of new traffic controls that would go throughout the region.

It includes several pedestrian crossovers including at:

  • Courtland Avenue Public School in Kitchener.

  • On Frederick Street at East Avenue in Kitchener.

  • On Queen Street at Joseph Schneider Haus Trail Crossing in Kitchener.

  • On St. Andrews Street at Gilholm Avenue in Cambridge.

These will all be level two crossovers, which means they could include signs, pavement markings and in some cases, rapid flashing beacons to alert drivers to yield.

Traffic control signals are also expected to be added to help Iron Horse Trail users cross Borden Avenue in Kitchener.

As well, a school bus loading zone will be added on Frederick Street in Kitchener in front of Suddaby Public School.

Two intersections will change to no longer allow right turns on red lights:

  • Erb Street at University Avenue in Waterloo.

  • Whippoorwill Drive at Arthur Street in Woolwich Township.

The staff report said many of the recommendations were from people contacting them about improved traffic control measures in 2023 and earlier this year.

"Regional staff are always looking for opportunities to improve the safety for all users within the regional transportation network, and are listening to suggestions from members of the public and area municipality colleagues for tangible network improvements," the staff report said.

The costs for all the changes is approximately $200,000 and would be funded through various transportation projects approved in the 2024 capital budget. It's anticipated most of the changes would be completed by this fall.