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Recommended lower speed limit on the Red Hill Valley Parkway: Resurfacing planned in spring 2019

HAMILTON, ON - On behalf of the City of Hamilton, staff apologize to Council and the general public for how this matter has come to their attention.

Earlier tonight, Hamilton’s General Issues Committee went in-camera to receive a report related to matters on the Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP) and provided direction to staff to share the information that follows.

Today, Committee received detailed information for the first time regarding a consultant’s report related to friction on the Parkway, dated November 2013. With the introduction of a new leadership team in Public Works, staff became aware of this document in late 2018, and through an audit process by the City’s Auditor General.

As a result of this report, combined with information received through the annual collision statistics report received in public this evening, the City is taking precautionary action. This includes reducing the speed limit on the RHVP between Greenhill and the QEW to 80km per hour in both directions. We are also expediting the resurfacing of the Parkway in spring 2019. Both of these actions are in the interest of public safety.

Excessive speed continues to be a factor in collisions on the RHVP. Council has also directed staff to request additional support from Hamilton Police Services, particularly as it relates to a targeted enforcement campaign for speed, aggressive driving and distracted driving.

External traffic engineering experts have recommended the Parkway remain open for use, but that motorists be cautioned about speeding. The posted speeds are maximums. Drivers should reduce speed appropriately, particularly for wet road conditions.

Both the 2013 friction testing report and a third party review of that report in conjunction with current collision statistics and recent safety improvements on the Parkway are attached to this media release.

Quick Facts

  • Friction is one element of the design and operation of any roadway – road safety includes many aspects that are taken into consideration in tandem. These include things like design and geometry of the curves, grade of the road, signage, lighting and visibility, speed limits, how drivers interact with the roadway and the driving conditions at any given time.
  • Typically, receiving low friction values would be an indication that a road operator should undertake a collision monitoring program and make adjustments to such things as pavement markings, signage, guiderails, end treatments, etc.  Since 2015, the City has made the following improvements on the RHVP:
    • Oversized speed limit signs installed
    • Slippery when wet signs installed
    • Merge and bridge ices signs installed
    • Guiderail and end treatments upgraded
    • Guiderail treatments (reflective markers)
    • Recessed pavement markers (cat eyes) installed
    • Speed fine signs installed
    • Trimmed vegetation (various locations)
  • The City also has additional ongoing and planned upgrades including digital feedback signs (returning February 2019), flashing beacons on slippery when wet signs, Q-end warning system and advance diagrammatic and lane exit signs (Hwy 403 Mohawk Road).
  • Approximately 75,000 vehicles per day travel on the RHVP
  • Earlier in 2018, the City was investigating the use of Hot-in-Place recycling technology for resurfacing of the RHVP. This technology will not be used during the resurfacing of the roadway in spring 2019 – new asphalt will be used, and the project will also include other safety upgrades

Finally, the City of Hamilton’s Auditor General will conduct an independent investigation of the City’s previous actions taken, internal processes, managerial systems and procedures regarding friction management in relation to the RHVP and report back with recommendations and management responses to the General Issues Committee. Resulting from this investigation will be a special report.

“While we are extremely disappointed to learn that this information was not shared with Council when it was received, we appreciate staff bringing it to light now so that we could take immediate action. We are in the business of delivering high quality public services and are committed to doing everything we can to ensure ongoing public safety. We will be reducing the speed limit to 80 km per hour, requesting increased speed enforcement, making improvements to the RHVP in spring 2019, and directing that actions be taken to improve internal processes and procedures relative to information management.”

Mayor Fred Eisenberger, City of Hamilton

Council will direct staff as it relates to further information and decision making on next steps related to this matter.