P.E.I. hoping to turn the corner on a dangerous intersection

The province has announced a new roundabout to help deal with highway safety at the accident-prone intersection in Oyster Bed Bridge.

'I haven't had any fatalities since I have been here, thank goodness, lot of bad wrecks'

The roundabout construction is planned to be complete before the height of the summer tourist season. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The sound of squealing tires and honking horns have become too common for the main intersection in Oyster Bed Bridge.

"Somebody come flying though the road or slowed down at the intersection, trying to creep out but they just don't get through the road fast enough and someone is coming down over that hill ... a lot of near misses," said Kenny Snow, owner of Oyster Bed RiteSTOP.

He was one of the local residents who attended a meeting with the province Wednesday evening to discuss the new roundabout planned for the spot where routes 6, 7 and 251 intersect.

The province reports that 22 accidents have happened there over the last decade.

Snow said, in the 20 years he has been at the gas station and convenience store on the corner, the number could even be much higher.

Kenny Snow, owner of Oyster Bed RiteSTOP for the past 20 years, said he has responded to a number of accidents at the busy intersection right in front of his business. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

He even joined the New Glasgow fire department to get additional training on how to respond to the number of accidents outside his stores front door.

People have come in and hit the pumps, they have been wrapped around poles. You're talking full fledged fire services come and close down the roads, cutting cars apart to get people out.— Kenny Snow, Oyster Bed RiteSTOP

 "People have come in and hit the pumps, they have been wrapped around poles. You're talking full fledged fire services come and close down the roads, cutting cars apart to get people out," Snow said. "I haven't had any fatalities since I have been here, thank goodness, lot of bad wrecks."

The province said there are more than 6,000 vehicles a day passing through the intersection.

That number swells to more than 9,000 during the summer months when tourists visit the island.

In an effort to enhance safety and address concerns by residents, it's replacing the intersection with a roundabout.

The design for the new roundabout shows the roads shifting slightly to accommodate houses and businesses in the area. (Supplied: Province of P.E.I.)

The tender went out Thursday morning for the construction project that will build another raised centre roundabout on the Island.

"This will have a full curb around the centre island," said Stephen Yeo, chief engineer with P.E.I.'s transportation department.

"We'll raise the centre island 2-3 feet. We'll have a light pole in there and it will be vegetated with grass and plants, so it will be well marked, you don't drive through the centre of this one."

Turn the corner on highway safety

Yeo said the location has been looked at for years with a number of measures put in place to make it safer.

Vehicle speed display signs, a flashing light and rumble strips have been installed over the past number of years.

The intersection has routes 6, 7 and 251 converging. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

He said the roundabout will improve safety by improving sight lines and reducing speeds of all incoming vehicles.

"Safety is the big thing and we will have traffic manoeuvring through the intersection at a relatively slow speed," Yeo said. "It will be safe for the vehicles, safe for the pedestrians and we will still accommodate the people and businesses that live in the area."

The province hopes to start construction in May and plans to have the new roundabout complete in time for the height of the summer tourism season.

With files from Tom Steepe

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