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Province announces portion of Highway # 3 to be widened

- Hanlan Street extension will be a municipal project -


by Sylene Argent

Recently, Caroline Mulroney, the MPP of York-Simcoe who is currently serving as the Ontario Minister of Transportation, announced construction to widen Highway # 3 will begin in 2021.

  The project was said to entail the widening of the current two lanes to four lanes from Road 34 to Essex, in addition and the repaving of the portion of the remaining stretch to Leamington’s Highway 77.

  The office of the MTO noted traffic volumes on Highway # 3 are lower heading east towards Leamington, with Essex Road 34 to Highway 77 as the lowest volume section, which is why this section is scheduled for repaving.

  “MTO will continue to monitor traffic operations along that stretch, as we do on all provincial highways, to ensure the highway remains safe,” The office of the MTO stated in an email about the project to the Essex Free Press.

  “Widening and improving safety on Highway 3 is a priority for this government,” Mulroney said in a press release. “From day one, we have been committed to improving road safety and making life easier for families and businesses by delivering on transportation projects in every corner of the province.”

  Essex MPP Taras Natyshak believes the Highway # 3 widening announcement fell short for the community, noting when Premier Doug Ford was in the area campaigning during the last provincial election, he said the project would be completed immediately. He also believes the resurfacing of the 6km of road between Ruthven and Highway 77 is shortchanging Leamington and Chatham-Kent.

  “It wasn’t the announcement I was looking for,” he said.

  The local MPP also had concerns as funding for the project did not shown up in this year’s budget.  

  The office of the MTO also noted the reason for the 2021 start is that there is still some environment assessment work to do before construction can start.

  The update to the preliminary design and environmental assessment on Highway 3 through the Town of Essex in 2017 have been completed. The province is now acquiring property for this section and is in the process of retaining a consultant to update the preliminary design and environmental assessment for Highway # 3 from the Town of Essex to west of Leamington.

  As part of the project, the widening of Highway # 3 includes bridges for Highway # 3 to go over Victoria Avenue/North Malden Road. With that change, the plan is to extend Hanlan Street. This will be completed as a separate contract. The timing of the Hanlan extension, as it relates to the widening of Highway # 3, will be up to the Town of Essex as the MTO office noted the extension of Hanlan is a municipal project.

  In the recent past, there have been instances when portions of Highway # 3 have buckled. The Office of the MTO noted a contract for repairs to the Highway# 3 concrete pavement was advertised in July and is expected to be awarded by the end of this month. Construction is expected to begin in early September and to be complete by the end of October. Future pavement designs will consider the potential for buckling.

  Credit to any movement on the project, Natyshak said, should go to the community for continuing to advocate for this issue. 

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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