A tanker truck in Ontario tipped over early this week at a roundabout on the Windsor-Essex Parkway, making it the third truck in six weeks to fall on its side at the traffic circle, confirmed by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.
The roundabout, located at Highway 3 and Highway 401, has been causing problems for truck drivers in recent weeks. According to MTO Spokesperson Ajay Woozageer, the roundabout opened on November 2012 in a “reduced configuration.” The completed “four legs” did not open until June 2014. During that time, Highway 401 traffic was directed to the roundabout while the below-grade Highway 401 was under construction.
In December 2014, westbound ramps to Highway 3 from Highway 401 opened up and reduced traffic at the roundabout. When asked whether or not MTO might consider some changes due to the increase of overturned tractor-trailers, Woozageer replied with the following statement:
“Thousands of vehicles, including commercial trucks, utilize the roundabout daily with no incidents. We are requesting that all drivers, including trucks, be aware of road conditions, reduce speed when entering the roundabout, and ensure their loads are secure.”
There may be some relief soon. Traffic will be further reduced in the future as private sector partners plan on reopening Highway 401, which will send roundabout traffic to the below-grade Highway 401. Woozageer expects that to be completed later this spring.
Even with reduced traffic, truckers may still have issues navigating the roundabout. In interviews with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., truckers noted how the issue had more to do with the limited space available when turning. One trucker told CBC that the trailer tends to hit the curb when turning, which can lead to tipping over with a top-heavy load.
The decision to put in a roundabout at that location derived from consultations with local municipalities during the Detroit River International Crossing study, according to MTO. Traffic signals were not installed in an effort to reduce severe crashes, serious injuries, reduce noise and air pollution, remove idling of stopped vehicles, and reduce delays.