Motorists heading up Highway 28 into cottage country will notice some changes that have now taken effect.
Two new community safety zones have been set up along the busy north-south route through North Kawartha Township.
That means if you’re caught speeding in either of these zones, your fines will be doubled.
“Enforcement begins now. There will be no grace period,” North Kawartha Mayor Carolyn Amyotte said in a Facebook video on April 27.
“The increased penalties will be applied immediately. After years of advocacy and hard work, this is a major accomplishment for the well-being and safety of our community and for the tens of thousands of people that travel Highway 28 each year.”
The first zone covers 3.5 kilometres of Highway 28 through the village of Apsley while the second covers 5.5 kilometres of 28 from Haultain to Woodview.
Signage has been installed at the boundaries for both zones.
“We’re hoping that will be a deterrent. We have seen a fair share of serious accidents and a few fatal accidents, unfortunately. We support this 100 per cent for any way to make our roads safer,” Peterborough County OPP Const. Joe Ayotte said.
Ayotte tells Global News Peterborough vehicles colliding with animals is the top reason for collisions on that stretch of road, but there are other factors too.
“Number 1 is animal strikes, but after that it’s speeding, inattentive driving, following too closely and driver fatigue. It’s up to the drivers to take it on their own responsibility to make these roads safer as well,” Ayotte said.
On the week leading into the August long weekend in 2020, approximately 66,000 vehicles passed through Woodview, according to data obtained by the OPP.
“Highway 28 is by far one of our busiest highways. It’s right up there with highways 7 and 115 for volume,” added Ayotte.
According to the OPP, there have been close to 300 collisions on a section of the highway between Big Cedar and Apsley in the last five years — four of which were fatal, resulting in six deaths.
Following the last fatality on the highway in August 2021, Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith along with township officials created a petition in September 2021 for community safety zones and eventual photo radar cameras along a stretch of 28 from Burleigh Falls to Apsley.
While it received support, there are still no photo cameras installed along 28.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, photo radar or automated speed enforcement (ASE) cannot be installed in community safety zones with speed limits of 80 km/h or higher.
The speed limit in the newly installed community safety zones is still 80 km/h.
“ASE can only be deployed by municipalities in school zone or community safety zones. ASE is not permitted on provincial highways, (which Highway 28 is),” the ministry stated in an email to Global News Peterborough.
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