New speed zone posted

Duane Hicks

New 70 km/h transition speed zone signs were posted at the west edge of town on Monday.
While the speed limit for westbound motorists still changes from 50 km/h to 60 km/h at Heikki Lampi Sand & Gravel, it now changes from 60 km/h to 70km/h at Taylor International (at the beginning of Alberton Township), instead of going straight from 60 km/h to 90 km/h.
The signs for the 90 km/h speed limit begin just west of Lowe’s Furniture and Appliances.
Kelly Schmid, head of the Ministry of Transportation Ontario North West Region traffic section, explained the change.
“The section of Highway 11/71 at the west limits of the town was studied by MTO in response to concerns raised by the Township of Alberton and local businesses,” Schmid said in an e-mail this morning.
“The review recommended that a 70 km/h speed zone be introduced as a transition from the rural 90 km/h highway speed to the lower urban speeds found in the Town of Fort Frances,” she added.
“The 70 km/h speed zone is appropriate for the changing traffic characteristics and the surrounding land use development, and will better meet driver expectations.”
In related news, highway motorists probably already have noticed signs erected recently which warn about the ban on the use of hand-held cellphones and other wireless devices while driving.
As previously reported, the new distracted driving law came into effect last Monday (Oct. 26).
The law makes it illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial, or e-mail using hand-held cellphones and other hand-held communications and entertainment devices.
Hands-free use of these devices still is permitted.
From now until Feb. 1, 2010, police are focusing on educating drivers about Ontario’s new road rules for hand-held wireless communication and entertainment devices, and generally won’t be issuing tickets for violations (although they will be able to give them if circumstances warrant).
After Feb. 1, police will begin issuing fines of up to $500 if they catch drivers talking on hand-held cellphones or texting.
Police, paramedics, and firefighters, as well as some commercial drivers and public service workers, may continue to use certain hand-held devices when performing their duties.
All drivers may use hand-held devices to call 9-1-1.