SARNIA, Ont. — The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is warning that construction may create traffic chaos on Hwy. 402 through Sarnia, after local politicians rejected a proposal to amend noise by-laws to allow construction to occur during off-peak hours this summer.
The proposal had the support of OTA, local businesses and the Bluewater Bridge. However, since it was rejected by city council, the OTA warns that most of the construction will now take place during the daytime, when commercial and tourist traffic is at its highest.
The OTA’s fear is that traffic chaos will ensue on the approach to the second busiest commercial border crossing between Canada and the US. The association has appealed to the city to keep at least two lanes of traffic open as much as possible during peak travel periods.
About 2,000 to 3,500 trucks pass through the crossing each day. Reducing the stretch to one lane could create major backups, the OTA pointed out in a letter to Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.
“We recognize that residents are going to be inconvenienced one way or the other, but in our view the impacts from forcing all construction to be done during the day will far outweigh the downsides of night-time work,” said OTA president, David Bradley.
He said truckers will do their best to avoid the Bluewater Bridge crossing, but many don’t have a choice.
The OTA also raised concerns about the potential of rear-end collisions as motorists come upon slow-moving traffic.
“We don’t want to be alarmist but we’ve worked hard with the local police, the OPP, the Bluewater Bridge and the city to reduce the incidence of rear-end collisions – some of which were fatal – that had occurred in large part due to extended line-ups of vehicles waiting to cross the border. Unfortunately, by leaving MTO with no option but to conduct its work during peak traffic periods we are concerned that safety could be compromised again,” said Bradley.
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