Ottawa

South end intersection was up for changes before 'life-altering' crash

The intersection of Dalmeny and Gordon Murdock roads was considered for improvements more than a year ago, but they were called off because of resistance from the community.

Community pushback kept Dalmeny Road curve from being altered

A motorcyclist suffered serious injuries Aug. 20 in a collision with a transport truck on Dalmeny Road near Gordon Murdock Road. (CBC)

An intersection in rural south Ottawa that was the scene of a horrific motorcycle crash last month was considered for improvements more than a year ago, but they were called off because of resistance from the community.

On Aug. 20, a motorcyclist collided with a transport truck on Dalmeny Road at Gordon Murdock Road.

The motorcyclist had to be transported to hospital by air ambulance and suffered what police have called "life-altering" injuries.

The driver of the truck was charged under the Highway Traffic Act with failing to avoid a collision during a left turn.

The intersection is an unusual one: as it approaches Gordon Murdock Road, Dalmeny Road splits in two, with a curve that allows drivers to bypass the intersection and head north. It's somewhat similar to a right-hand turn lane, except that it allows traffic in the opposite direction as well — specifically, southbound vehicles from Gordon Murdock Road. 

"We don't have too many of these intersections like these in the city," said Phil Landry, the city's director of traffic services. 

Landry said changes to the roadway were considered in 2018, and the city presented three options to the community: do nothing, close the curve completely, or allow only one-way traffic on it.

This Google Maps satellite image shows the Dalmeny Road curve, which allows vehicles in both directions to bypass the intersection with Gordon Murdock Road. (Google Maps)

Community wanted 'status quo'

After the options were put forward, Osgoode Coun. George Darouze told the city the community preferred the curve be left alone, Landry said.

"The feedback we got back from the councillor was that it was the status quo [they wanted]," Landry said.

Darouze, who declined an interview with CBC News, posted about the idea of closing the curve in January 2018, asking residents for feedback. 

Rob Boughner, chair of the Osgoode Village Community Association, said residents were split on the idea, with a poll on the community's Facebook page coming in at 50-50.  

"That just kind of put everything on the backburner," Boughner said. 

Landry said the intersection averages roughly one collision per year and does not pose major safety concerns. If it did, he added, the city would have already made changes.  

 "When it comes to road safety, we do consult. But if there is an imminent danger, we would implement something," Landry said. 

Phil Landry, the city's director of traffic services, says changes to the intersection where the motorcycle crash happened Aug. 20 will now go ahead. (Hillary Johnstone/CBC News)

Changes will now happen

Following another community meeting in July 2019, the city decided to take a second look at the intersection and will now convert the curve to one-way traffic, making it a right-hand turn lane rather than a two-way street.

Landry said the changes, which only require installing flexible posts and adding paint, should be in place within the next week.

The work was initially planned for mid-August, Landry said, but it was delayed.

He said the city will monitor the intersection following the changes to see if safety is improving.

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