Mayor says he’ll fight Huron Church expansion

WINDSOR, Ont. — The mayor of Canada’s largest border town says he’ll sue if the binational group charged with selecting the next border crossing between Windsor and Detroit forges ahead with a new border route that cuts through the city.

According to the Windsor Star, Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis threatened legal action after being presented with blueprints of a new truck route plan drafted by Detroit River International Crossing — a group made up of government officials and stakeholders from both sides of the border.

Francis told the newspaper the drawings outline five options — all of which involve widening of the busy Huron Church Rd route from Highway 401 to a new bridge in the west end of the city.

Officials want to widen truck-jammed Huron Church by 100m. Windsor’s
mayor says the plan would devastate homes and businesses

The DRIC recently decided a new bridge should be built a few kilometers downriver of the current, privately owned Ambassador Bridge.

Francis said the current six-lane roadway would be widened by 100 metres according to the DRIC drawings. Francis said the plan would devastate businesses and residents along the route.

Last year, the city unanimously approved a Huron Church truck bypass route drawn up by N.Y. City traffic expert Sam Schwartz, who was hired by the city to solve Windsor’s border woes.

Schwartz suggested an entirely new design that straddles the border between Windsor and the suburb of Lasalle. His blueprint would lead trucks off the 401 to Talbot Rd., where commercial vehicles would be separated from residential property and traffic by utilizing “context sensitive design.”

Trucks would have continued along a depressed (and tunneled in parts) four-lane highway that would split the existing north and southbound Talbot Rd. traffic.

All international commercial traffic and voluntary local traffic would bypass Huron Church via a “horseshoe” route to the west through mostly vacant woodland. From there, Ojibway Parkway would carry the traffic north through an industrial to the new bridge crossing.

Schwartz insisted that “context-sensitive design” is a tried-and-tested approach that’s being implemented all over North America, even in upper-scale N.Y. neighborhoods.

The DRIC ultimately decided against that design, but did somewhat mirror Schwartz’s design when choosing a bridge site.

— with files from Windsor Star

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