County Mayors Continue To Lobby For Widening Of Highway 3
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Essex County mayors and top administration officials urged Ontario’s transportation minister at the Association of Municipalities Conference in Ottawa Monday to expedite the widening of Highway 3.
“We impressed upon the minister how important this increasingly busy stretch of road is for commuters and our expanding industrial, commercial and agricultural commerce,” said Bain. “Premier Doug Ford promised during the election campaign to fix the highway immediately and we want to do everything we can to share information and help his government expedite that process.”
According to county officials, the volume and frequency of serious motor vehicle collisions continue at an alarming rate along the corridor from Windsor to Leamington, which is made up of both two-lane and four-lane stretches. There have been at least nine fatal collisions since 1993 between County Road 8 and Highway 77.
“It’s not just the rising volume of crashes, it’s also the severity, with 60 per cent of Essex-Windsor EMS calls on Highway 3 classified as critical in nature,” said Essex County CAO Robert Maisonville. “Essex County transportation experts conducted studies that concluded the number of crashes could be reduced by as much as 42 per cent by expanding the highway from two to four lanes.”
Essex County boasts the second largest cluster of greenhouses in the world at 2,300 acres, and 75 per cent of agri-business production is exported through the Highway 3 corridor. The five-year forecast calls for another 600 to 700 acres with a construction value of $650 million. Agri-business is a $3 billion industry employing more than 8,000.
“Highway 3 is already running well over capacity and the traffic volume is only going to grow as Essex County continues to expand,” said Bain. “The corridor provides minimal opportunities for collision avoidance by even the most defensive driver and it needs to be widened as soon as possible.”