Draft Transportation Plan For Southwestern Ontario
LONDON, Ont. – A newly released draft transportation plan for Southwestern Ontario, Connecting the Southwest, encompasses more than 40 improvements and strategies across different travel modes, including trucking, says Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney in a message introducing the plan.
The trucking-specific measures include a review of load restrictions during spring thaws, options to introduce more truck parking, and a focus on clearing heavy vehicles from highways following collisions.
The plan also includes improvements to the highway network. Among infrastructure improvements are a new overpass over Windsor’s Ojibway Parkway, connecting Hwy 401 to a planned International Crossing Canada Customs inspection plaza. The province is also looking to expand truck parking at locations including the Cambridge North and South ONroute facilities, or potentially re-purposing a former inspection station on Hwy 402 as a truck rest area near Sarnia.
Other infrastructure improvements include doubling the number of Hwy 3 lanes between Essex and Leamington; a bypass around Morriston; upgrades to the south end of Hwy 6 in Guelph; and widening Hwy 401 from Regional Road 24 easterly to Townline Road in Cambridge. There are also plans to replace the Grand River bridges on Hwy 401 in Kitchener and Guelph and building a new Hwy 7 between Kitchener and Guelph.
Planning and design work will involve the widening of Hwy 401 from London to Tilbury to six lanes, complete with a concrete median barrier.
Importantly, the plan also acknowledges that up to 60 percent of all human trafficking in Canada involves using the 400-series highways. Ontario will work in partnership with the private sector, including the province’s ONroute operator and the trucking industry, to raise awareness of human trafficking. This includes posting awareness materials about the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at key locations such as truck inspection stations, rest areas, and highway service centres in Ontario. Awareness activities would be complemented by the exploration of safety enhancements in these key locations, such as improved parking lot lighting and emergency communications infrastructure.