Keep on truckin’: Perth trucking industry leader weighs in on downtown transport debate

While trucks make up only four per cent of the traffic on Gore Street, the move is still on to get them out of the downtown core.

We reached out to Contrans, located on Lanark Road in Perth, and spoke with Dan Roberts, the company vice-president, during an email exchange Wednesday, Sept. 14, to get an insight from the trucking industry on the subject.

The Contrans Tank Group GP Inc. “has 470 trucks with approximately 60 drivers working and living directly in our Perth community,” Roberts wrote. “Contrans Perth is one of six terminals across Ontario and Quebec.”

1. How would your company react if you could no longer use Gore Street as a truck route?

If our company could not use Gore Street as a truck route, I would ask what route is proposed to replace it. The safest option for truck traffic to move from one end of the town to the other would be a new truck bypass linking Hwy. 7 to County Road 43 or Rideau Ferry Road. This is the key option to improving safety in our community when discussing truck traffic through our town. Presently, Gore Street is the safest possible road to use while commuting from Hwy. 7 to the Rideau Ferry area or return. If trucks try and use other streets rather than Gore, they will add a minimum of three extra turns. Adding any turns to truck traffic adds extra safety risk. Every turn brings the possibility of an accident with another vehicle, light post, curb, pedestrian and damage to the roads. The safest way for a truck to travel is forward in a straight line. Many new trucks come with radar sensors stopping trucks when vehicles or objects appear too close and the sensors stop or slow the vehicle in time, if the operator does not; very similar to new cars with sensors these days.

2. Would using Sherbrooke Street more than Gore Street be a workable alternative?

Sherbrooke Street would add three extra turns to navigate from Hwy. 7 to Rideau Ferry Road for all traffic trying to go this way versus using Gore Street. The extra turns are a safety risk. I feel this is not a workable alternative to Gore Street as it adds extra safety risks not needed today. It is also adding out-of-route time as well as extra wear and tear on our roads and equipment. Every time you turn a corner in a car or transport, you cause added stress on the road causing extra wear and tear. We haul the heaviest payloads in Canada and have the most axle configurations you can have without an escort or permit. Adding turns in Perth is a safety risk. Sherbrooke Street is a good option for truck or car traffic to move from Hwy. 7 toward Smiths Falls (County Road 43 east).

3. What challenges do your drivers face going through Perth?

Our Perth drivers are used to travelling through Perth and are therefore cognizant of the challenges that could occur while navigating through town. Many streets in Perth are narrow which causes all truck drivers to utilize the oncoming lane to navigate around the corners. This highlights an additional safety risk when making turns. We are fortunate in Perth to have some of the most professional truck drivers working in our community.