Transport Minister says 401 widening and barrier work will begin soon
The provincial government says it is committed to making Highway 401 safer between Tilbury and London.
The stretch of highway has long been known as “Carnage Alley” due the number of serious and fatal collisions over the last 20 years.
The Progressive Conservative government says it will soon begin to widen the section of highway and install concrete barriers to prevent crossover crashes.
The plan was included in the Ontario budget, delivered in April.
It calls for 128 kilometres of the highway to be widened from four to six lanes with concrete barriers.
Chatham-Kent-Leamington Progressive Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls stood up in the legislature on Tuesday and asked Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek for an update.
Yurek said they are committed to getting shovels in the ground as soon as possible.
“We’re working to ensure the people of Ontario have a safe efficient highway network,” said Yurek. “I've directed officials to speed up the process to install concrete barriers along highway 401 between Tilbury to London.”
Yurek also said the Ministry of Transportation will implement safety measures during construction.
“We will be installing snow fencing at strategic locations, making enhancements to winter highway maintenance operations, working with the OPP and other road safety enforcement partners to increase speed enforcement and installing portable roadside messaging signs to display road safety messages,” said Yurek.
Nicholls said the Progressive Conservatives called on previous Liberal governments to install concrete barriers but little was done.
However, the Liberals did begin the installation of cable barriers along that stretch of 401 in 2018 with a plan to install concrete barriers next decade.
The people behind the grassroots group, Build the Barrier, have long called for a concrete barrier.
After the budget was delivered, found Alysson Storey said she was “cautiously optimistic” about the news.
“Minister Yurek lives in carnage alley and has worked with us on this issue since day one. He knows firsthand the dangers drivers face on a daily basis on this outdated stretch of highway,” said Storey.
According to the group, there were five fatalities and 10 serious hospitalizations in accidents on the stretch of highway in 2017.
Yurek did not offer a timeline or cost for the new 401 project.
The Minister’s Press Secretary Andrew Buttigieg tells CTV Windsor “we are in the final stages of the planning and decision making and hope to announce a start date in the near future.”