August 24, 2011
WINDSOR ESSEX MOBILITY GROUP
Construction begins on Windsor-Essex Parkway in Ontario, extending Highway 401 to the U.S. border
Construction has begun on the $1.4 billion Windsor-Essex Parkway, which will ease traffic congestion along the vital trade corridor to Detroit.
The 11-kilometre parkway, which will extend Highway 401 through Tecumseh, LaSalle and Windsor, will separate local and international traffic through the Windsor-Detroit gateway.
“I look at it as a 50-year conclusion of the 401,” said Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara at the sod turning ceremony. “They started at this end, they forgot that little component. We’re completing the 401.”
On average, $1.6 million in trade crosses the Canada-U.S. border each day, says Len Crispino, Ontario Chamber of Commerce President and Chied Executive Officer.
The parkway’s design consists of a six-lane below-grade freeway which is an extension of Highway 401 and a four-lane service road network which is an extension of Highway 3 to eliminate stop-and-go traffic in residential areas. The project has more than 300 acres of green space, 20 kilometre of recreational trails, and new community connections.
“Today is an exciting moment for the Windsor-Essex community. Construction of the Windsor-Essex Parkway will strengthen the local economy and when completed the Parkway will provide an efficient gateway to Canada’s busiest trade corridor,” said Minister of Transportation Kathleen Wynne.
The parkway’s construction is slated to bring more than 12,000 jobs, with the majority in the Windsor-Essex region.
MPP Dwight Duncan, MPP Sandra Pupatello, MP Dave Van Kesteren, municipal delegates and local business owners were on-hand to celebrate the beginning of construction, with some even arriving on backhoes and front loaders.
Ignacio Lasa, Chief Executive Officer of Windsor Essex Mobility Group (WEMG) said the call for tenders has already begun.
The WEMG is required to keep four lanes of traffic open on Huron Church Road during core travelling hours, reducing the impact of construction on local and international-bound motorists.
“Now we’re ready to rise to the challenge of constructing it on time and on budget,” said WEMG Technical Director Michael Hatchell.
Opposition to the Windsor-Essex Parkway has called it the “road to nowhere”, but Duncan dismissed those claims.
“This road is going ahead, the new boarder cross will go ahead, it is not the road to nowhere, it’s the road to the future,” he confidently told the crowd.
A portion of North Talbot will be closed for up to nine months.
The parkway is scheduled to be opened to traffic in the fall of 2014 with landscaping and other related works finished by the summer of 2015.
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