Sunday, May 9, 2021

$67.8-million 401 project approved, concrete median barriers being installed

A multi-million dollar contract has been awarded to widen the 401 in Chatham-Kent, which will result in concrete median barriers being installed.

Jeff Yurek, MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London, announced on Monday, October 26, 2020 that Ontario is making Highway 401 safer for drivers through an investment of $67.8-million to widen and install concrete median barriers on the highway between Tilbury and Merlin Road in Chatham-Kent.

Provincial officials say this is part of the province’s larger project to widen and install concrete barriers on 125 km of Highway 401 between Tilbury and London, creating more local construction jobs.

“Everyone in our community knows how vital Highway 401 is to the success of Southwestern Ontario,” Yurek said in a press release.

“Widening Highway 401 and installing concrete median barriers will make our roads safer and continue to keep people and goods moving in the region.”

Provincial officials say Coco Paving Inc. has been selected to widen the section of highway from four to six lanes, add concrete median barriers and a new storm sewer system.

The concrete barriers will enhance safety by helping to reduce the likelihood of cross-median collisions.

Construction could start as early as the end of this year, Provincial officials added.

“By widening Highway 401 in Tilbury and installing concrete barriers, we are helping to keep our families safe on our roads while ensuring the safe movement of goods on our important trade corridor,” stated Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, in a media release.

“This is part of our government’s plan to build a better transportation network, encourage economic growth and connect communities in southwestern Ontario.”

Members of the Build the Barrier advocacy group said they were “cautiously optimistic” upon hearing the news.

“This is the most detailed information we have received this year,” stated Alysson Storey, founder of the group, in a media release.

“A specific cost and a company selected to start construction is definitely a good sign that this project is finally about to move forward, once and for all.”

Storey praised MPP Yurek and Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls for their work on the file.

“We never could have gotten this far in our journey without Minister Yurek’s leadership,” Storey said in a press release.

“He has been a tireless advocate from Day One; he lives in the area and he knows first-hand the dangers that drivers face every day on this stretch of highway. We are incredibly thankful for all of his hard work on this file. We look forward to the day when we celebrate the final kilometre of this 117 kilometres built. And today is another important step towards this important and life-saving goal.”

The Build the Barrier group was formed in September 2017 after 42-year old Londoner Sarah Miles Payne and her five-year-old daughter Freya were killed in a crossover collision in August 2017.

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