Friday, September 12, 2008

Killer Six

A bit of a beef today about one of the most dangerous roads here in Hamilton -- the stretch of Highway 6 that runs from the 403 to the Wellington County line.

This north-south road should have been upgraded years ago. In fact it should have been completely bypassed and a new road running from Clappisons Corners (the intersection of 6 and Dundas Street) to the Hanlon Parkway in Guelph which itself is due to being upgraded to a full expressway with possible frontage roads.

Yet Killer 6 remains just that, a killer. And from 2000 to 2006, 24 people were killed on this 24 km stretch of road. It's poorly designed -- and a turn lane down the middle hasn't done anything, really. Adding a middle lane down a road designed for the 1950s actually makes the problem even worse because when people barrel down an undivided road at 130 km/h in an 80 km/h zone it's duck season. There are some medians here and there and some stretches of the road are fully lighted but that's it.

It's interesting they're currently upgrading the hill between Clappisons and the 403 to a dual carriageway with a climbing lane northbound and a full interchange at York Road (the present accesses to York and Plains road have been or will be sealed off when the project is completed). But no full interchange at the top where a lot of accidents happen even with dedicated left turn signals and it won't be build for at least a few more years, not until Hamilton can figure out just where the east-west bypass that skirts around the Waterdown neighbourhood so go.

And this project certainly didn't stop a couple of bizarre incidents the last month or so -- a trailer detaching from its tractor and running back downhill; or just the other day when someone caught under the street racing law tried to get away by going down the hill on a skateboard. The bottom of the hill feeds right into the 403.

With many people now commuting to Kitchener or Guelph for employment, this is becoming a more urgent issue. It's not enough to encourage people to be safe on six. It's time to build a new road.

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