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Old Posted Jun 17, 2006, 9:27 PM
upinottawa upinottawa is offline
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Location: Ottawa/Windsor
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Hwy. 3 project gets OK

Lee Palser, Windsor Star
Published: Saturday, June 17, 2006

Long-suffering Highway 3 commuters finally got the news they'd been waiting for Friday.

The widening of the heavily travelled road to four lanes is now officially part of provincial plans to spend $3.4 billion over five years on road work in southern Ontario.

No specific timeline has been announced.

Essex MPP Bruce Crozier, who's made the project an issue in Queen's Park and on the campaign trail since he was first elected in 1993, said "it's an important announcement for this area. ..."

"I'm pleased it's in the five-year plan. It's a big step."

Crozier said estimates for the work range from $24 million to $38 million -- "depending on what is going to be done" -- and that he'd have more specific information about the timing after meeting with transport ministry officials in about 10 days.

In an interview earlier this year, Crozier said he hoped to see a "shovel in the ground" by the end of 2006. "I still hope for that," he said Friday.

An environmental assessment has been done for the project, although there was one outstanding issue to be resolved, he said. "I hope that doesn't delay it."

Leamington Mayor John Adams said four lanes will make it easier and safer both for commuters and truck traffic. But, he added, an improved Highway 3 will also decrease the pressure on secondary roads.

"A lot of people try to avoid it," he said. "They take county roads that really weren't built to handle that kind of traffic.

"And it's possible that the widening will encourage some industries to come to Leamington if there's an easier connection."

Planning and property acquisition for the existing highway -- still called the Essex Bypass by many -- was undertaken more than three decades ago and roughly followed the old South Talbot Road. The first phase ended just south of Essex but was later punched through to Ruthven and finally Leamington in the 1980s as traffic volumes continued to build.

Frequently cited for creating dangerous driving conditions, the two-lane highway is heavily used by commuters. On any given workday, nearly 50,000 workers are heading into or out of Windsor, many of them on highways 3 and 401.

© The Windsor Star 2006


This project is long overdue and will make it easier for people to get from the county to the city and from the city to the county. The two lane road has been due for an expansion for years -- the road carries too many frustrated drivers during peak commute times, making the road less than safe at times.
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