'We’re going to make sure this government keeps their promise': barrier advocates
The people behind a grassroots effort to have a concrete median built along a section of Highway 401 are pleased with the province’s announcement.
Alysson Storey, the founder of the Build the Barrier group, says they are pleased the Ministry of Transportation will be accelerating plans to install a cable and concrete median barrier on the 401 between London and Tilbury.
The 117-km section has been known as “Carnage Alley” due to the high number of serious and fatal collisions along the highway over the last 20 years.
According to the group, there were five fatalities and 10 serious hospitalizations in accidents on the stretch of highway in 2017.
The province’s initial plan calls for the installation of high-tension cable barriers. Minister Kathryn McGarry tells CTV News they will installed over 68 kilometres this year, and should be complete by 2021.
McGarry says the process to build the concrete median may take up to 12 years because environmental assessments must be done before the stretch of the 401 is widened to six lanes.
“As the Minister of Transportation and as the MPP for a community in Southwestern Ontario I took the decision on how best to improve safety on Highway 401 between London and Tilbury very seriously,” said McGarry. “This decision came after additional work and analysis by ministry staff and many important conversations with families and advocates who have personally felt the impact of a fatal collision on this highway.”
“Our group is reassured to hear Minister McGarry’s affirmation of the importance of highway safety,” says Storey. “We share that view and look forward to working with the Minister and her colleagues to ensure that concrete median barriers are installed as soon as possible between London and Tilbury.”
Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls believes the concrete barrier should be built sooner.
Nicholls points out roughly 43 per cent of the traffic on the 401 between London and Windsor is transport traffic, which he argues cables cannot withstand.
"We have seen where election promises tend to fall by the wayside and I don't want to see that happen,” says Nicholls. “Tthe concern of many is that once the cable barriers are installed they may just forget about it and say there."
“We’re going to make sure this government keeps their promise,” adds Storey.
Build the Barrier will host another town hall meeting, hosted by MPP Jeff Yurek on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Lambeth Community Centre.