'Extreme safety issues' around Topsail Beach under review
'What we’ve seen in the last month has been over the top,' mayor says
As the weather warms up and more people are heading outside, the Town of Conception Bay South has hired an engineering firm to review the increased flow of traffic in and out of Topsail Beach Rotary Park.
Mayor Terry French says Harbourside Transportation Consultants will complete the study to find ways to make sure traffic is moving safely — and to reduce the number of vehicles going back and forth along the narrow, winding road to the beach, a popular draw on the Northeast Avalon.
French said people often like to drive to the beach in the summertime, but there's been even more traffic than usual this year.
"Although it's always busy at Topsail Beach, what we've seen in the last month has been over the top," he said.
"This is not something that's new to us, it's just that this year it's a lot earlier and it's a lot more of it, so in fairness to the residents in the area, we've had to do something."
Too much noise
French said the town has received complaints of "squealing tires and revving-up motorcycles" on the road, in addition to issues of capacity on the beach's parking lot.
"We're delighted and we're so happy that people are coming to Conception Bay South … but again, because of that, it's causing extreme safety issues on the Topsail Beach road and it's important for us to have a look at it," he said.
The town has already stationed extra staff on the road, French said, to alert police and municipal enforcement officers to any problems and to get a better picture of how much traffic is travelling to the beach.
The mayor said while he doesn't expect any drastic changes in the area, the town will explore the suggested solutions in the report.
He said the road is too steep to install speed bumps and is too close to homes to be widened, so a "counter system" might be useful, with someone counting vehicles and allowing only a certain number down the road at a time.
French said the study should cost the town around $5,000, with a preliminary version delivered to the town by the end of day Tuesday, and a full report by the end of the month.
"Because of the volumes [of traffic], we needed something right away, so we asked them to fast track it for us," he said.
In the meantime, French asks drivers to enjoy the area, but to respect the people who live nearby.
With files from Lukas Wall