Connector helping to reduce congestion
It’s a brand new road taking a heavy load.
More than a year after opening to traffic, the Hillside Drive Connector appears to be doing what it was created to do — alleviate congestion on the Summit Drive and McGill Road corridors.
According to a city report on traffic counts, more than 6,000 vehicles use the Hillside Drive Connector every day.
The report also indicates 550 fewer vehicles are using the Summit and McGill intersection in the evening peak hour (4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.), a drop of 14 per cent from traffic counts in years past.
The figures give the intersection a passing grade, according to the city’s traffic analysis.
The amount of time people are spending at that particular intersection has also dropped.
The report found the average delay at the intersection during the peak hour was between 20 and 35 seconds in 2010, down from between 35 and 55 seconds the previous year.
“That was really one of the key things this project was trying to accomplish, to ease traffic pressures on the whole Summit-Columbia corridor,” said Chris Darwent, a transportation engineer for the city.
The Hillside Drive Connector opened to traffic in December 2009.
Other major two-lane roadways with similar traffic volume counts in the city include Dallas Drive and Nina Place (6,000), Highland Drive (6,700) and Valleyview Drive at Rose Hill Road (7,700)
In the spring of 2010, the city installed traffic counters on the new road, but didn’t start collecting the data until last fall.
The connector is a bypass road that runs from behind the Home Depot, tying in at McGill Road by the recycling depot and leading to the Summit Drive Connector, where it merges at the traffic lights at Guerin Estates.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $8.2 million.
City planners hoped the new connector would help alleviate congestion problems at other intersections along McGill, which in the past have received failing grades by traffic analysts.