Residents who live near the Kytes Hill Drive intersection on Grand Lake Road, between Sydney and Glace Bay, are asking the provincial government to make changes to the road after numerous accidents.
About 175 people turned out for a public meeting on Thursday night to express their concerns about the safety of the highway, which has been the site of numerous crashes — some of them fatal.
The most recent death occurred in September, when 67-year-old John MacLeod MacDonald was killed while attempting to turn his motorcycle onto Kytes Hill Drive.
There was also a serious accident earlier this month when a motorcyclist was involved in a collision with a car at the same intersection.
"I'd like to see something done now, not wait," said John Cherpak, a resident who attended the meeting. "How many people have to be hurt, how many people have to be killed before something is done?"
Cherpak was one of about 30 people who voiced their concerns at the meeting, which was organized by consulting firm Hatch Mott MacDonald.
Hatch Mott MacDonald has been hired by the provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to review the road and come up with recommendations to present to the provincial government.
The $30,000 review, funded by the province, is expected to be complete by late July.
Thursday's public meeting, which was part of Hatch Mott MacDonald's review, heard from grandparents, young mothers, retirees and professionals who expressed frustration about the collisions and near-collisions they'd witnessed on Grand Lake Road.
Residents want reduced speed limit
The residents called for traffic and warning signals, a reduced speed limit and more police enforcement.
Rick MacDonald's nephew was hit from behind on April 2, while waiting on a motorcycle to make a left turn off Grand Lake Road to Kytes Hill Drive. He said his nephew is in a coma in a Halifax hospital.
MacDonald read a letter to the consultants from his brother, the victim's father.
"There is a simple thing that can be done towards remedying this ongoing problem and it costs very little. Reduce the speed limit in this heavy residential area to 60 kilometres per hour," he said.
"It merely needs to be extended to Victoria Junction. This will cause the commuter to spend an extra 25 seconds to get to their destination."
The current maximum speed limit is 80 kilometres per hour.
Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Peter McIsaac said his officers spend more time patrolling Grand Lake Road than anywhere else and he wants the current speed limit to be reviewed.
"Would a reduction in speed help? I think there's some merit in it and I would like to see that happen. At the very least, let's try it," he said.
McIsaac said he's interested in seeing what the consulting firm recommends about Grand Lake Road, where there have been 150 traffic accidents in the last two years. McIsaac said 28 of those accidents have been at the Kytes Hill intersection.
He said an average of 18,000 motor vehicles travel past there every day.