Businesses along Rothesay Avenue in Saint John say they have waited long enough for a permanent fix to the traffic snarls on one of the busiest roads in the city.

Two traffic lights, set up 20 metres apart in a zigzag formation on Ashburn Lake Road and Rothesay Avenue, were installed in 2007 as a temporary measure to allow traffic to access Retail Drive and the East Point Shopping Centre on the city's east side.

Six years later, they're still in place and causing heavy traffic congestion made worse by a railway crossing.


During peak hours cars line up on Ashburn Lake Rd. all the way to the throughway. (Google Maps)

A group of car dealers says it's time for the city to finish the job.

"These lights are just intolerable," said Keary Coyle, president of the Saint John Automobile Dealers Association.

"If a train comes through we're finished. No one turns left onto Ashburn Lake Road, and the traffic is backed up … and coming off the throughway, it can be backed up at peak times right to the throughway."

Coyle said the lineups are scaring customers away.

'It's almost a cat and mouse game, and people get hit.' —Keary Coyle, Saint John Automobile Dealers Association

"The first thing they say to you when they come into our dealership is, you know, 'This is a terrible place to get to,'" he said.

"I've witnessed quite a few fender benders there, and people are sticking their nose out to turn left on Ashburn Lake Road, and it's almost a cat and mouse game, and people get hit."

Coyle said when customers complain, he tells them to contact the mayor.

"We've been trying to get this alignment of these traffic lights fixed, or at least get flashing green lights on them, but it's not happening," said Coyle.

"I don't think the left hand knows what the right hand is doing at City Hall. When it comes to these lights, everyone points away," he said.

"We've been patient. It's been over six years with this temporary light system and it's time for City Hall to step up and finish the project. We're not against any new business, we welcome it. But let's put the roads in so the people can get there, and put lights in that work."

The city's municipal plan includes realigning the streets, but it would mean uprooting a nearby restaurant or mobile home development. It would also come with a high cost.

Gerry Lowe, a Ward 3 councillor, agrees that the city should have connected Ashburn Lake Road to Retail Drive much sooner.

"I mean, that's probably what should have been done when this whole thing went in six years ago," said Lowe.

"But this whole thing is a mess. And it's getting worse."