Improvements to border highway commence

LONDON, Ont. — The federal and Ontario governments are starting a project to improve Hwy 402 en route to the Sarnia-Port Huron, Mich. border crossing.

Improvements to the 12-km stretch on Hwy 402, east of Sarnia, from west of Mandaumin Road, will improve traffic flow and safety in the area, says the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Work includes:

Rebuilding eastbound and westbound lanes and repairing five bridges on or over Highway 402; new lighting and upgraded highway signs; and an upgrading Sarnia south truck inspection station to a new commercial vehicle inspection facility configuration that “provides a safer and more efficient facility for inspectors and the trucking industry.”

The announced road improvements would increase
safety at one of Ontario’s busiest border crossings

“Highway 402 is an important international trade corridor for Canada,” said Federal Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon in a press release. “The reconstruction of this segment of highway will improve the overall operation of the corridor and the safety of both commercial drivers and travellers.”

The $44 million worth of road work is expected to be complete by late 2008. The cost is being shared by the governments of Canada and Ontario.

Last year, the Ontario Trucking Association pushed for a series of safety measures after several truck-related crashes leading up to the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia.

In the first 6.5 months of 2004, OPP investigated a staggering 26 collisions involving cars and commercial transports in an area of westbound Hwy. 402 between the Bluewater Bridge and Airport Road, Sarnia. That compared to only six the year before.

Initiatives included: Decreasing speed limits and adding oversized road signage on the westbound 402; signage indicating that motorists may experience back ups ahead, as well as portable signage activated when back ups were occurring. Also, enforcement and visibility by OPP officers was increased.

It was also reported last month in an exclusive story by that Blue Water Bridge officials would back a third, “hybrid” proposal in an attempt to correct the American Plaza infrastructure problems on the U.S. side of the border. (click the ‘Related Stories’ link below for more).

The proposal, originally proposed by U.S. Customs, expands the size of the current facility by constructing partially on the existing site with a smaller footprint than earlier proposals.

The Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia is one of Canada’s three busiest border crossings with 4,900 trucks and $127 million worth of goods crossing each day.

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