To the Editor:

Re: King’s Highway 34 through Vankleek Hill secondary connector highway

Dear Ministry of Transportation,

I would like to address the Ministry with an urgent matter that affects the safety and wellbeing of the residents of the town of Vankleek Hill. We have a freeway running through a residential neighbourhood. I absolutely cannot allow the high risk and dangerous situation to continue. I realize the politics concerning the jurisdiction of this essential part of the transportation system. This is my voice for the collective wellbeing of all those who have been suspected to a litany of hazards by no fault of their own.

I must plead with the Ministry to investigate the negligence and incompetent manner that this connective section of highway has been designated. All night and day 15,000 vehicles pass by my home not even 20 feet away from my front door. Freight trucks, 18 wheelers, emergency vehicles, police high speed chases, fire trucks, ambulances, logging trucks, long loads, and wide loads such as mobile homes. The speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour but no one goes this speed. They go 60 kilometres per hour and at night can fly by at high speeds of 70 or 80 kilometres per hour. There is no respect for the safety of the residents.

Please, no speed bumps because they are too dangerous. If a car is speeding, it could cause an accident. What about the fact these individuals are breaking the law? Why are their safety concerns more important than ours who live in a residential area that has a highway running through our neighbourhood? The litany of risks are endless due to the situation we have been subjected to cope with. Fifteen thousand vehicles pass by my home, non-stop day and night. The road vibrates, the sewer covers pop up due to the extreme weight and pressure exerted on a road not appropriate to accommodate the volume of traffic.

Two years ago, the road was made more narrow, the shoulders are also less wide, the sidewalk is in dangerously close proximity to the road. I am literally less than 20 feet from the two-way traffic on a road that is not wide enough.

All residents on the 34 through the town limits have to take extra precaution as the have to back out of their driveways onto a chaotic freeway. There have been collisions in the past involving oncoming traffic. One passenger suffered serious injuries when a car struck the side of her car. It is impossible to slow down for animals, children, and pedestrians when you are travelling at 50 kilometres per hour.

The police should have more presence and monitor this dangerous stretch of both residential road and freeway. The government designates this section of the King’s 34 as a secondary highway. I have witnessed animals being struck and killed. I have picked up cats that were killed so they would not be run over repeatedly, and to avoid cars swerving to avoid running over the animal. I have witnessed my own car be and hit and witnessed my loved pet suffer a traumatic and shocking death and then the person responsible never noticed what happened and sped away.

I stood near in horror, and it really occurred to me how all the small children who are so innocent could have the same fate. I cannot sit back and ignore all the hazards that this roadway presents.

What if a tire blows on a freight truck?

The road was not built to support the traffic. It was not built to support the strength. If a truck is too heavy, it could go right through the pavement and the road could cave in. A truck driver who loses control could also plow into a house. I grew up in this region and since 1958 the road has not been upgraded to deal with the increase in population and its essential use as a connector highway to access all the major cities and destinations.

The quality of our lives is diminished by this reckless disregard for the safety of all those that have to deal with negligence and incompetent government who are more concerned with political issues such as jurisdiction and expense.  This essential section of road needs to fall into a reasonable description reflecting the nature of its importance in the logistics of transportation.

Is it too much to ask that people reduce their speed within the town limits to avoid risk of injury or death? If it is too inconvenient to slow down for a couple of minutes rather than speed to arrive a few minutes early at the risk of the lives of those residing on the King’s Highway 34?

There are no weight stations for transport trucks, I never hear air brakes because the trucks go through our town full throttle. No signs to indicate that children could be around, no consideration, and no courtesy for residents.

Once, I saw a boat on a trailer pass my home and it became unsecured. My son and I stopped the driver to make him aware so that the safety of others would not be compromised.

I live on this section of the King’s Highway and I need safety measures to be taken to ensure safety first at all costs. Avoiding building a bypass is bad enough, but to avoid the urgency of this situation is unacceptable. You need to consider the facts of demographics and logistics that must be addressed. I have written this as a heartfelt and personal account of my negative experience with this ongoing situation that has fallen through the cracks and the problems that this issue represents fall on a chosen few—unfair to subject any taxpayer to such incompetent government.

King’s 34 provides access to Highway 417, 401, and 17 in Ontario, and 50 in Québec. It is an essential route for transport to Ottawa, the USA Border in Cornwall, and access to Montréal. This stretch of highway needs to keep up with the demand of the present and progressive times and can no longer be minimized as to its significance as a part of a larger network. The status of this highway should be upgraded, it is not built to accommodate the traffic and presents the threat of a tragedy.

Please consider my pleas for my wellbeing and the safety of all my neighbours. This is a logistical nightmare, putting too many people at high risk for a disaster.

Rebecca Clément,

Vankleek Hill