Ontario's minister of transportation appears to be considering concrete barriers for the centre median along Hwy. 401 in southern Ontario, instead of the high-tension cable barriers already announced by the government. Activists have argued all along that a cable barrier would not prevent transport trucks from crossing the medium.
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The change in direction was made public during the first town hall put on by the group 'Build the Barriers.' After several fatal crashes along Hwy. 401 between Tilbury and London involving vehicles crossing the unobstructed center median, they're calling for a concrete barrier to help prevent these collisions.
"These names are more than statistics," said the group's organizer, Alysson Storey. "They are moms and dads, husbands and wives, they are uncles and nieces, daughters and sons. And they all lost their lives because a vehicle crossed over into oncoming traffic with nothing to stop it."
Chatham-Kent-Essex Progressive Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls hosted the event in Chatham Thursday night, alongside Alysson Storey, leader of the Build the Barriers initiative. Nicholls said he spoke with Ontario's Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca this week, who indicated he's "reconsidering" the decision to install high-tension cable barriers along the stretch of Hwy. 401 known as "carnage alley."
The room was full of families who lost loved ones along Hwy. 401, police officers, health officials and ER doctor.
Kathleen Reed's fiance Gary Lent died in a Hwy. 401 crash about nine months ago. She tearfully addressed the crowd of people.
"If that concrete barrier median was built I wouldn't be living the nightmare I have been living every single day and I am begging and pleading that barrier and you build it now," said Reed.
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At least one Ministry of Transportation official was on-hand to answer public questions, and did corroborate what Nicholls said about a private conversation with the minister.
The ministry representative said all options "are on the table" when looking at what type of barrier to install in the centre of Hwy. 401 in southern Ontario.