The Municipality of North Cowichan is considering lowering the speed limit on River Road, from Chemainus Road to Askew Creek Drive. North Cowichan is also moving forward with plans for a roundabout at the intersection of River Road and Chemainus Road. (File photo)

North Cowichan looks to reduce speed limit on River Road in Chemainus

Residents have raised concerns

North Cowichan is considering reducing the speed limit from 50 km/h to 40/km hour on River Road from Chemainus Road to Askew Creek Drive.

In a report to council that will be tabled on June 5, engineering director David Conway said residents of Chemainus have raised concerns about speeding on River Road, and in response, staff reviewed the road, its alignment, and the number and location of speed limit signs.

Conway said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has planned the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and River Road in 2020, and North Cowichan has begun the design of a roundabout at the intersection of Chemainus Road and River Road.


“Both of these features will encourage traffic to use River Road and these infrastructure changes, in combination with the public concerns, have generated the review of the road’s speed limits,” he said.

River Road is approximately 2.3 kilometres long between Chemainus Road and the Trand Canada Highway.

Currently, the speed zone for the entire road is 50 km/h which is encompassed by the municipality’s blanket 50 km/h speed limit.

Conway said that at the east end of River Road, between Chemainus Road and Askew Creek Drive, staff determined the road geometry is only sufficient for 40 km/h based on engineering standards for road design.

“From this analysis, staff concluded 40 km/h would be a better option for traveller safety,” he said.

“The proposed speed zone would be approximately 900 metres long, which is typically sufficient for RCMP enforcement. The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment is in support of this change to the speed limit.”


As part of the review, Conway said it was determined that the overall length and open road characteristics of River Road give drivers the impression of a higher than 50 km/h speed limit.

“Thus, the engineering department has already approved the installation of 50 km/h signs to reinforce the blanket speed limit between the Askew Creek Drive and the TCH,” he said.

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