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Traffic tumbles on SD & G roads due to COVID-19 emergency

Traffic on five of the busiest roads in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (SD & G) has dropped significantly since physical distancing, remote working and other pandemic protocols have been instituted.

The five busiest roads in SD & G are County Road 34 (formerly Highway 34), County Road 43 (formerly Highway 43), County Road 2 (formerly Highway 2), County Road 7 in the Chesterville area, and County Road 31 (formerly Highway 31) between Morrisburg and Ottawa.

A Transportation and Planning Department report presented at the April 30 counties council meeting suggested
an average drop of 46 per cent covering an earlier part of April. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided
municipalities with an opportunity to understand how the extreme adaptation of remote work changes traffic
patterns.

“With our partners we’re studying the impact of remote working on the transportation network, specifically
how broad adaptation of remote work opportunities may lessen the need for infrastructure expansions,”said Transportation and Planning Director Benjamin de Haan.

South Dundas Deputy Mayor County Coun. Kirsten Gardner echoed de Haan’s sentiments and suggested an individual’s increased comfort level with working remotely or staying off the road during challenging times may be one positive to come out of this pandemic.

“One of the positives may be that folks are more comfortable with doing more telecommuting,” said Gardner.”

Potentially we may see a trend where people are more able and willing to stay home when there’s a large snow event in the winter. That could in turn impact our snow-clearing operations in a positive way,” she added.

The traffic data is adjusted for time of year – it is for information and interest only. Additionally, the speed data that was collected during this period suggested that the prevailing traffic speeds were not substantially different when compared to typical times.

Table showing traffic volume decreases on SD & G roads 34 and 43

Road                                                                                                      1.*               2.*              3.*

*1. typical daily volume   2. daily current volume  3. decrease

James Morgan

James Morgan is a freelance contributor. He has worked for several print and broadcast media outlets. James loves the history, natural beauty, and people of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

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