Drivers will soon notice changes to Vankleek Hill’s busiest intersection.

On April 26, United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) council approved a recommendation from the Department of Public Works that four changes be made at the intersection of County Road 10 (Main Street) and Highway 34 (High Street). The UCPR’s recommendation and council approval follows a recommendation submitted to the regional government by the Champlain Township Public Works Department on February 22, 2023.

The four changes to the intersection involved relocating the eastbound stop bar (stop line) to the west of County Road 10 to 18 metres west of its current position to align with the back of the building located at 10-14 High Street. A “No Right Turn on Red Light” sign will be installed on the southwestern corner to prevent traffic from turning south onto Highway 34 from eastbound County Road 10 as there will be no visibility from the new stop line into the intersection. The UCPR will add another “No Right Turn on Red Light” sign for southbound traffic on Highway 34 turning westbound on County Road 10 due to a conflict point when heavy vehicles turn right onto Highway 34. The parking zone to the west of the intersection on the south side of County Road 10 will be removed to provide additional space for semi trailers to turn. The UCPR will also review the traffic light timing to ensure there is sufficient time to perform safe turns for semi trailers.  

The changes to the intersection follow three collisions between trucks and utility poles at the intersection in 2022. On July 29, a cement mixer truck struck and toppled the traffic light pole on the northeast corner beside the fire hall entrance. A temporary traffic light pole was installed, but exactly two months later on September 29, the new pole was felled by another truck. On December 5, a large vehicle struck the pole supporting power lines and traffic lights at the southwest corner of the intersection.

There was no discussion among members of UCPR council before the recommendation for the changes was adopted. Director of Public Works Jérémie Bouchard told The Review that moving the stop bar for eastbound traffic is the most effective change, from a geometric perspective. Another possibility was creating a truck bypass route for Vankleek Hill following Aberdeen and Duval roads. However, Bouchard said the approved changes were a better option to take before causing damage to two other local roads. He anticipates moving the stop bar and restrictions on right turns on red lights will improve the situation at the intersection.

“I would expect this will be a positive change for sure,” Bouchard said.

The UCPR also investigated the possibility of having Hydro One relocate its poles at the intersection, but that would have cost $450,000 with the UCPR being responsible for half of the expense.

Bouchard said the changes to the County Road 10 and Highway 34 intersection in Vankleek Hill will be made during the next month.