Zooming cars seeking shortcut from official detour are worrying this quiet neighbourhood | RiseNB

Zooming cars seeking shortcut from official detour are worrying this quiet neighbourhood

Increased traffic through the residential streets of Larsen Lane and Parkin Street are concerning residents. (Pierre Fournier/CBC)

Residents of a quiet Salisbury neighbourhood are having to restrict their children’s outdoor play because of a dramatic increase in traffic, as motorists use their road as an unofficial detour. 

Part of nearby Route 106 washed out weeks ago, and New Brunswick’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure closed the road Jan. 3. A detour is directing traffic onto Homestead Road via Upper Mountain Road. 

But savvy local motorists know the official detour is longer than a more direct route through nearby residential roads of Larsen Lane and Parkin Street.

The residents of those roads say they live in an accident waiting to happen.

Dave-Allan Gouthro, who lives on Larsen Lane, said he experienced a close call while checking his mail one evening at the community mailbox along the said of the road. 

That’s when a driver made a hard left from Route 106. 

“He saw me sort of last minute, swerved, gestured his disapproval that I was on the side of the road — and then passed the radar sign that says 30 at 71,” said Gouthro. 

“He was probably about a foot from hitting me.”

WATCH | Resident says too many close calls because of redirected traffic: 

Gouthro said this was one of many close calls residents have experienced. A neighbourhood dog was hit by a vehicle last week, though survived. 

Gouthro, who has lived in the area for five years, decided to write an open letter to Jeff Carr, minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, requesting changes to avoid further accidents. He hoped they could install speed bumps, though was told they would interfere with snow clearing, and instead is requesting an increased RCMP presence in the hopes of deterring speeding motorists.

“It’s a quiet street,” he said. “It’s filled with kids, joggers, dog walkers. The problem is that the people driving these streets aren’t used to it, and the people who are living on these streets aren’t used to it … there’s so much volume that we’re not accustomed to.”

There are several vehicles on a busy road where a sign on the right indicates "detour" in black text on an orange background.
Signs direct drivers to detour onto Upper Mountain Road from Route 106, which directs them to Homestead Road. Some drivers appear to ignore the signage. (Pierre Fournier/CBC)

Town has added more warning signs 

The Town of Salisbury is emphasizing that Larsen Lane and Parkin Street are in no way an official detour. The neighbourhood’s design — essentially a half-circle shape on either side of the washed out road —  means motorists are cutting through anyway.

To address resident concerns, the town has installed signs indicating children at play, has put up additional speed limit signs, and has communicated with Codiac RCMP about speeding motorists.

Various trucks are parked near a construction site in the middle of the road where they appear to be installing a metal bridge.
Work is ongoing to erect a temporary bridge over part of Route 106 that washed out earlier this winter. (Pierre Fournier/CBC)

“We’re trying to remind people that there is an official detour,” said Austin Henderson, Salisbury’s chief administrative officer. “It’s just that it’s a bit further than people like, unfortunately. In true small town fashion, people know there’s a residential area there.”

In a statement to CBC News, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure said a temporary one-way bridge is on schedule to open this weekend, weather permitting. 

“DTI has not posted any alternative detours in the area and are urging motorists to utilize the official detour only,” the statement said. 

Town staff are looking forward to meeting with district engineers to discuss a more proactive approach going forward. A section of road failed early last year and temporary fixes were put in place at that time.

“Many would argue that we could have planned for it had it been fixed permanently but that was not the situation we dealt with,” said Henderson.

“We are concerned but we are dealing with the concerns as much as we can.”

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