London

Province moves forward with concrete barriers on Carnage Alley, but advocates want a timeline

On Wednesday, the province announced it's looking for a contractor to widen and install concrete median barriers in an effort to reduce the number of cross-median collisions along that stretch of Highway 401, a long-awaited move for highway safety advocates. 

The province said it's looking for a contractor to start with the first 11 km of the project

The province says the project would start with the first 11 kilometres of the road between Tilbury and Merlin Road in Chatham-Kent. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

The province says it's one step closer to improving safety on Highway 401 between London and Tilbury, also known as  "Carnage Alley," which sees about 23,300 vehicles every day.

On Wednesday, the province announced it's looking for a contractor to widen and install concrete median barriers in an effort to reduce the number of cross-median collisions along that stretch of the 401, a long-awaited move for highway safety advocates. 

"It seems to be good news, but, without a timeline attached, we are a bit concerned because that doesn't really compel anyone to get things done in a timely fashion," said Alysson Storey, founder of the advocacy group Build the Barrier.

"Each day [that passes] is a day longer that people's lives are at risk on the 401 and that's just not acceptable to us," she added. 

The province says the project would start with the first 11 kilometres of the road between Tilbury and Merlin Road in Chatham-Kent.

"People's safety on Ontario's roads and highways, especially on Highway 401, is one of our government's top priorities," said Jeff Yurek, MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London.

"Our government continues to take real action on our commitment to widen and install concrete barriers on this dangerous stretch of highway to make our roads safer for drivers and get people where they want to go across southwestern Ontario faster," he added. 

Storey has been advocating for concrete barriers since 2017 after her friend, Sarah Payne, and Payne's 5-year-old daughter, Freya, were killed when a pickup truck crossed the centre line and struck their minivan on Highway 401 near Dutton, west of London. 

"Whenever your lose a loved one in such a senseless way, it's extremely upsetting," Storey said. "This is the only way many of us see a way of making any sense to a loss like this." 

In addition to the concrete barriers, the project also includes a new storm sewer system and other safety improvements.

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