The Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario continuing improvements to Highway 401 in Essex County



    WINDSOR, ON, March 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon,
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and Essex MPP Bruce
Crozier, on behalf of the Honourable Jim Bradley, Ontario Minister of
Transportation, today announced joint funding for the final phase of the
five-phase project to widen Highway 401 approaching Windsor, Ontario.
    "The improvements announced today demonstrate this government's continued
commitment to upgrading transportation infrastructure, improving safety, and
enhancing capacity and efficiency along this corridor, which leads to one of
Canada's most important commercial border crossings," said Minister Cannon.
    "The McGuinty government's record investments are keeping Ontario's
highways safe and in good repair. Improvements to this stretch of Highway 401
will reduce congestion and move border gateway traffic more quickly and
efficiently," said Mr. Crozier.
    This phase of construction will include the widening of Highway 401 from
four to six lanes between east of Puce Road (Essex Road 25) to east of Belle
River Road (Essex Road 27); rehabilitation of the Maidstone Township Road 3
and the Rochester Township Road 2 underpasses; the widening and rehabilitation
of the Belle River Bridge and Duck Creek Bridge; the replacement of the Belle
River Road overpass; repairs to the Big Creek Bridge; construction of a
commuter parking lot at the Belle River Road interchange; reconstruction of
ramps; and installation of new lighting.
    The Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario are jointly funding
improvements to this 7.1-kilometre section of Highway 401 between Windsor and
Tilbury, with the federal government committing up to $29.95 million. The last
phase of construction is set to begin this spring and will be completed by
late fall 2009.
    "This project is critical to the flow of international goods and
investments in Essex-Windsor, especially to our auto supply chain," said
Jeff Watson, MP for Essex, Ontario.
    Phase one of the project was completed in December 2005, and involved
widening and improving Highway 401 between Essex Road 42 and Highway 77. The
second phase included improvements to Highway 401 from Puce Road to Manning
Road and was completed in November 2006. Construction of the third phase
between Highway 77 to Essex Road 27 began in spring 2006, and was completed in
the fall of 2007. Work on phase four between Highway 3 and Manning Road began
this past fall and is expected to be completed in 2010.
    The first three phases of this project were funded by the Government of
Canada and the Province of Ontario under the Strategic Highway Infrastructure
Program. Under the program, both governments are investing more than
$490 million in highway improvement projects across the province.
    Through the Border Infrastructure Fund, the federal and provincial
governments are undertaking the construction of the fourth and fifth phases of
the Highway 401 construction project.

    A backgrounder on the improvements to Highway 401 in Essex County is
attached.


    
                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------
                                 ------------

                   CANADA AND ONTARIO MAKING IMPROVEMENTS
                       TO HIGHWAY 401 IN ESSEX COUNTY
                       ------------------------------

    Highway 401 Widening from Windsor to Tilbury
    --------------------------------------------

    The Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario have invested more
than $273 million to date to widen Highway 401. The work involves five phases:

    Phase One - Essex Road 42 to Highway 77

    With an investment of more than $60 million, construction of this section
of Highway 401 has been completed and improvements included:
    - widening Highway 401 from four to six lanes to reduce congestion;
    - installing a concrete median barrier to enhance safety; and
    - improving the Essex Road 42 and Highway 77 interchanges, including
      commuter parking lots, new lighting and turning lanes on both Highway
      77 and Essex Road 42.

    Phase Two - Manning Road to Puce Road

    With an investment of more than $52 million for improvements to this
section of the highway, construction has been completed. Improvements
included:
    - widening Highway 401 from four to six lanes to reduce congestion;
    - installing a concrete median barrier to enhance safety;
    - improving the Manning Road and Puce Road interchanges to increase
      safety and traffic flow;
    - adding a new service road and commuter parking lot at the Manning Road
      interchange; and
    - six structure rehabilitations, two structure replacements and one
      interchange improvement.

    Phase Three - Highway 77 to Essex Road 27

    With an investment of more than $61 million, work has been completed.
Improvements included:
    - widening Highway 401 from four to six lanes to reduce congestion;
    - installing a concrete median barrier to enhance safety;
    - replacing the St. Joachim Road (French Line Road) Bridge, rebuilding
      the ramps and adding lighting at the interchange;
    - rehabilitating and widening the Ruscom River Bridge;
    - rehabilitating two underpass structures; and
    - upgrading the Windsor South truck inspection station to a commercial
      vehicle inspection facility.

    Phase Four - Highway 3 to Manning Road

    With an investment of more than $100 million, work has begun and is
expected to be completed in 2010. Improvements include:
    - widening Highway 401 from four to six lanes to reduce congestion;
    - installing a concrete median barrier to enhance safety;
    - replacing the Dougall Parkway, Walker Road, Provincial Road and railway
      bridges;
    - rehabilitating five underpass structures; and
    - upgrading high mast lighting.

    Phase Five - Puce Road to Essex Road 27

    Work will begin this spring and is expected to be completed in the fall of
2009. Improvements will include:
    - widening Highway 401 from four to six lanes to reduce congestion;
    - installing a concrete median barrier to enhance safety;
    - rehabilitation of the Maidstone Township Road 3 and the Rochester
      Township Road 2 underpasses;
    - replacement of the Belle River Road overpass;
    - widening and rehabilitation of the Belle River Bridge and the Duck
      Creek Bridge;
    - repairs to the Big Creek Bridge;
    - interchange improvements; and
    - a new commuter parking lot at the Belle River Road interchange.

    Phases one to three were funded through the Canada-Ontario Strategic
Highway Infrastructure Program, a joint federal-provincial funding program for
transportation infrastructure improvements in Ontario.
    Through the Border Infrastructure Fund, the Government of Canada and the
Province of Ontario are undertaking the construction of phases four and five.

    Let's Get Windsor-Essex Moving strategy
    ---------------------------------------

    The Let's Get Windsor-Essex Moving strategy is a $300-million joint
commitment by the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario to improve
traffic flow and reduce congestion at the Windsor-Detroit Gateway. The fourth
phase of the Highway 401 widening project is included as part of the strategy.

    Recent progress on the Let's Get Windsor-Essex Moving strategy includes:
    - a pedestrian overpass on Huron Church Road at Assumption High School;
    - new Intelligent Transportation Systems to improve traffic management,
      video monitoring, and driver information;
    - new signs directing trucks to the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry; and
    - the start of construction on the Walker Road CPR Grade Separation.

    For more information on the status of the Let's Get Windsor-Essex Moving
strategy, please visit www.ontario.ca/transportation.

    Border Transportation Partnership
    ---------------------------------

    The Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study is being carried out
by the governments of Canada, the United States, Ontario and Michigan. The
study team is moving forward on its goal to provide for the safe, efficient
and secure movement of people and goods across the Canada-U.S. border in the
Detroit River area and support regional, provincial, state and federal
economies.
    The Ontario Ministry of Transportation, in partnership with Transport
Canada, is leading the Canadian portion of the Detroit River International
Crossing study, which is seeking a long-term solution to border transportation
issues. This thorough and systematic study is being coordinated with a similar
study in the United States. The Partnership's coordinated process will enable
the joint selection of a recommended end to end solution for a new
international crossing, plazas and access roads, while meeting the
requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (OEAA), Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), and U.S. National Environmental Policy
Act (NEPA).
    For more information on the status of the Detroit River International
Crossing study, please visit www.partnershipborderstudy.com.

                                                                 March 20008
    




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
Nicole Lippa-Gasparro, Office of the Ontario Minister of Transportation,
Toronto, (416) 327-1815; Mark Butler, Communications, Transport Canada,
Windsor, (519) 967-4280; Bob Nichols, Communications Branch, Ontario Ministry
of Transportation, Toronto, (416) 327-1158; Transport Canada is online at
www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and speeches at
www.tc.gc.ca/listserv/ and keep up-to-date on the latest from Transport
Canada. This news release may be made available in alternative formats for
persons with visual disabilities.


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