City wants to Increase Truck Traffic on Expessway
Letter from Father who lost his son
THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO - March 1, 2019 (LSN) – I have learned a lot about these highways and the system since Dallas's death on October 17th. I have phoned a lot of people and asked a lot of questions. I shake my head at some of the answers I got. As if losing my son wasn't enough. I have been beaten by trolls on social media for trying to do something to make things better for all of us.
This is not about me. It's too late for me and our friends and family. Dallas is gone. FOREVER.
I am doing this so no one else will have to feel what we feel. If you haven't lost a child, you don't understand. Dallas was an amazing young man. He had an incredible life ahead of him. He should still be here.
Road enhancements around Thunder Bay are long overdue.
We in the north have been left behind. Between Hwy 102 and the Expressway we haven't had proper upgrades in 20+ years. We have been left by the local and provincial MTO as well as upper levels of government with many half-finished plans and a lot of ‘no we can't because...’ There is a lot of design work and tax payer money tied up in unfinished projects with 5 to 25 year timelines. The Shabaqua Extension, the Northwest Arterial Route and the twinning of the Expressway. By the way if we got approval tomorrow for the twinning, it would still take at least 5 years to be built.
I understand the frustration of some on city council.
That said, they want to move the trucks off of Dawson Road and Hwy 102 to make it safer and because they feel they need the "statistics" to get the changes made to the Expressway. However, the Expressway twinning preliminary design has been completed and shows a need already for improvements.
It is well known that this artery should be upgraded. However, 5 years is a long time in the political world. Government changes, expense cut backs, priority shifts and we’re right back to the 90's when they cut the twinning of the Expressway originally. How long will it really take? I was in my 20's when they started talking about this. I am now 57. Just announced on Feb 9th by minister Yurick current PC (Minister of Transportation) is the twinning of the highway from Kenora to the Manitoba border.
The Busiest part of the Expressway carries approx. 21,000 vehicles per day. (Oliver Road to Harbour Expressway) Add to the Expressway, the extra 1000 fully loaded transports trying to maintain drive times, erratic drivers around them, short road sections (Red River Road to John Street 1.2 km), people turning left in front of them, Northern Ontario snow and ice conditions, no warning lights before the intersections for light changes and no medians and we will have carnage.
And then there's Kakabeka. The small tourist village on the main highway with a school where kids walk back and forth across the road to and from that school. Somewhere in the area of 250,000 visitors come to Kakabeka Falls from all across the country. All traffic coming from the East stops to turn left into the falls.
I am not against the move of the transports and understand the frustration of some councillors. We have not been left in a good spot. However, moving the transports to the Expressway in its current form does not make sense. We need a bit more time. I just want to make sure we get the proper improvements on the Expressway and at Kakabeka prior to the move.
1) lower speed limits
2) Flashing yellow lights at all intersections as well as at each end of Kakabeka, a community safety zone for Kakabeka as well as radar signs showing your speed, a possible speed enforcement plan whether it be police road blitz' or photo radar and finally
3) cable stay medians from Balsam Street to Arthur Street.
Just on Tuesday of this week another truck spun out on the Expressway north of Oliver Rd. and went across all 4 lanes. Fortunately, unlike Dallas, nobody was coming the other way. These types of things go unreported all the time.
We should be able to get the first couple of things done almost instantaneously - at least by year end. This has become a major debate and we've gotten a few people in Toronto to start listening. Hopefully we can get action and have the barriers in before the snow flies in 2020.
I'm not saying no to moving the trucks. I'm just saying do it safely. Cut the risk. Let's all work together as a group from Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario to push the MTO and the province to spend the money and get these upgrades done as soon as possible. No more studies, no more, ‘no we can't because’...We need action and we need it soon. These proposed changes are very inexpensive by Ministry terms and are very easily attainable. The worst part of the driving season is almost over.
Please say no to the truck route change as it sits and give us until the end of October to have some of these things in place and vote again then.
Please come out to the meeting on Monday night at city hall for 6:30 for the vote.
Please take the time and sign the Petition
By: Jim Bailey