Right turn only: Traffic change at dangerous O’Connell Drive intersection a long time coming

Published on September 12, 2017

As of Sept. 18 traffic exiting Union Street at the intersection with O’Connell Drive will only be allowed to make a right-hand turn. The number of accidents that occur at the intersection involving vehicles making left-hand turns has prompted the City of Corner Brook to enact the change.

©Diane Crocker/The Western Star

Paul Seaward has heard the sound of slamming brakes, horns blowing and vehicles colliding from his house on Westmount Road for many years.

Most often that noise is coming from just below him on O’Connell Drive at the intersection with Union Street.

“I’ve seen where a car and a truck were wrote off there,” said Seaward.

He’s advocated for something to be done at the intersection since 1987. He believes that’s when O’Connell Drive became four lanes, and as a result traffic coming out of Union Street had to cross two lanes when making a left-hand turn.

Back then he wrote a letter to the council of the day telling them it was a dangerous intersection.

“And over the years it was just accident after accident and there were even lives lost there.”

He likes to think that the City of Corner Brook has finally gotten the point because Monday night council announced it will enact a right turn only at the intersection.

Across the other side of O’Connell, vehicles coming out of the private roadway from the Salvation Army Temple and Pioneer Street will also only be able to make a right turn onto the city thoroughfare.
Seaward said he was pleased with the changes.

“It’s a big improvement to the area.”

And he believes it will be enough to make a difference.

He said it’s only a few times through the day that it’s busy there and it’s because of the cars waiting to turn left.

“So I just think it’ll look after itself, it won’t interfere with people going to the businesses in that area or the gas station.”

But Seaward does think it will need to be policed for a while.

The change will take effect on Sept. 18.


Accident statistics

Since Jan. 1, 2016 eight collisions at the intersection of Union Street and O’Connell Drive in Corner Brook have been reported to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

They include:

Six vehicles making a left turn from Union Street onto O’Connell Drive that were struck by oncoming traffic going straight

One vehicle turning right from Union Street onto O’Connell Drive

One vehicle turning left from O’Connell Drive onto Union Street

Source: City of Corner Brook