Drivers on County Road 17 west of Plantagenet can expect a slower speed limit and bright lights to remind them they are in a safety zone near a high school. 

On September 22, United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) council approved a resolution and by-law to establish a 60-kilometre-per-hour speed limit in the area of École secondaire catholique de Plantagenet. The location will also have flashing lights installed to warn drivers of the reduced speed in the safety zone. The speed limit in the area was previously 90 kilometres per hour. 

According to a report from Interim Director of Public Works Jeremie Bouchard, Partham Engineering, the UCPR’s exclusive traffic signal contractor, has estimated the cost of the flashing lights to be $31,080. The same contractor had quoted $10,630 to the UCPR for a similar system in 2014. Bouchard said he asked another company for an estimate as a comparison, but was still awaiting a response. Council will award the signal contract to the lowest bidder once the second estimate is received. 

The project was not part of the 2021 UCPR budget, but council has previously requested efforts be made to address the traffic safety issues on the busy highway near the school, where serious collisions have occurred in the past.  

Bouchard recommended to council that it go ahead with the installation of the signals and using budget surplus funds to cover the cost.  

“We have the funds due to lower expenses last winter.” 

Bouchard said he spoke with the contractor and asked if it was possible for the UCPR’s own crew to build the foundations for the signals, which would save the counties approximately $4,000. Partham agreed to let the UCPR build the foundations and it will install the signals before the end of the 2021 construction season.  Bouchard said there would have been a 12-week wait from another contractor.