OTA helps get Hwy. 402 corridor improvements passed

SARNIA, Ont. — Sarnia city council voted this week to go ahead with a plan to expand Hwy. 402, despite earlier indications that the much-needed improvements to Canada’s second busiest commercial corridor and land crossing into the U.S. might be delayed.

The Ontario Trucking Association and Blue Water Bridge officials, who had written letters urging council to go ahead with expansion plans.

Both organizations feared a delay in moving forward on this project would have had a number of negative consequences for the Sarnia-Lambton Region, namely: the funding available to the highway upgrades would have gone to other border locations; required upgrades to sound barriers would not be possible; additional highway safety improvements would not go ahead as planned; and the ability to attract much-needed investment in manufacturing and other businesses would have been set back indefinitely.

One of the sticking points for council was truck engine diesel emissions, with some officials insisting that trucks stopped on the highway waiting to cross into the U.S. were the source of local health problems caused by air pollution. Highway expansion plan opponents wanted a marshalling yard for all trucks located far outside of the city.

But OTA set council straight on the facts — namely that trucking industry is achieving its commitment to a cleaner environment with mandatory cleaner burning engines and ultra low sulphur diesel fuel.

OTA repeatedly pointed to research clearly demonstrating that trucks are not the source of pollution in Sarnia — studies show trucks are responsible for less than 1 percent of air pollutants in the area and that even on the worst smog days in midsummer the level of emissions coming from diesel engines are well below the tolerable Ministry of Health Guideline levels.

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