Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney and Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Jeff Yurek, jointly announced a comprehensive draft transportation plan which includes several measures that would help the Ontario trucking industry improve its efficiency, enhance highway and driver safety and protect fleets from unscrupulous tow truck operators. This will be done through a series of different measures:
Infrastructure Improvements to Promote Efficiency
- Double the number of lanes on Highway 3 between the Town of Essex and Leamington to improve safety, reduce congestion and create additional economic opportunities;
- Construct a bypass around the Town of Morriston and make upgrades to the south end of Highway #6 in Guelph;
- Widen Highway 401 from Regional Road 24 easterly to Townline Road in Cambridge;
- Replace Grand River bridges on Highway 401 in Kitchener and Guelph;
- Construct a new Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph;
- Continue technical modelling and analysis to determine future highway needs in southwestern Ontario;
Actions to Improve Safety
- Advancing Planning and design work for Highway 401 from London to Tilbury to make it safer by widening the highway to six lanes and installing a concrete median barrier, making winter driving safer by installing more/better snow hedges in problematic areas experiencing whiteouts;
- Work with the towing and insurance industries and law enforcement to clear highways faster after a collision with a focus on heavy commercial vehicles. Quickly clearing our highways after a collision means other trucks will spend less time sitting in traffic and businesses can keep goods moving;
- Work with all stakeholders utilizing the 400 series highways to raise awareness of Canadian Human Trafficking.
Direct Support for Trucking Industry
- Combining separate inspections for emissions standards and vehicle safety into a single inspection;
- Update LCV Program;
- In cooperation with municipalities, review the rules around reduced load periods.
- Reduce wait times at the border by building a new overpass structure in Windsor over Ojibway Parkway to connect Highway 401 to the future new International Crossing Canada Customs inspection plaza;
- Explore opportunities to address the shortage of truck parking for commercial vehicle operators. The province is looking at options to expand truck parking such as the Cambridge North and South Onroute facilities or repurposing the former truck inspection station on Highway 402 near Sarnia as a truck rest area.
“Once again the Ford Government has shown strong support for our sector. The draft Southwestern Plan contains many items to improve the efficiency of our industry, the safety of the motoring public and commercial drivers while bringing needed changes to commercial vehicle highway clearance,” said OTA president Stephen Laskowski. “Our industry, and by extension, the Province of Ontario will be more competitive through the execution of this effort.”