Hamilton

Red Hill Valley Parkway inquiry launches website to follow investigation

The Red Hill Valley Parkway Inquiry is launching a website for the public. The inquiry is investigating how a 2013 report on the safety of the RHVP managed to stay buried for six years.

The inquiry is investigating how a safety report stayed hidden for six years

The Red Hill Valley Parkway Inquiry's newly launched website will give people information on public meetings and explain how to participate in public hearings. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

The commissioner of the Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP) is launching a new website through which the public can follow along with the investigation. 

In an email circulated to Hamilton city council by the city solicitor this morning, it was announced that the website will "serve as the central source of information" for the inquiry. The website will post updates for the public and media, and will also include a page with contact information to help answer questions from the public. 

A press release said the website will also post a schedule of public hearings and witnesses, transcripts of testimony and exhibits filed, decisions and media releases. The inquiry is in the process of collecting documents to upload to the site. 

The commissioner has also launched a Twitter account to keep people updated on social media. 

The multi-million-dollar judicial inquiry is investigating how a 2013 report on the safety of the RHVP managed to stay buried for six years. The report looked at friction levels on a road notorious for crashes. Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel was appointed in May to lead the inquiry.

Wilton-Siegel was the judge who oversaw the most recent restructuring for U.S. Steel Canada, now known as Stelco, and approved its sale to U.S. investment firm Bedrock Industries. He also rejected Hamilton council's attempted appeal to get out of paying part of its Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) levy.

After the report was revealed, the city apologized to the public. In February council revealed that a 2013 Tradewind Scientific report showed friction on some parts of the highway were below UK safety standards. The report had been put in a locked computer folder for the city's director of engineering services and left there.

It wasn't until a new director started the job that the report was discovered. That was in September 2018.

City staff hired another company to do a follow-up study, which found friction levels to be adequate. The city has also reduced the speed limit on the stretch from 90 km/h to 80, and has bumped up a plan to repave the road. The city has also put millions in improvements into the road since 2015.

Families who lost loved ones on the RHVP had previously pleaded with council to do something about the roadway. 

Public hearings will begin in 2020 with dates and location to be determined. 

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