Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, was in Kingston on Friday afternoon to announce immediate steps the province is taking to keep drivers safe in eastern Ontario.
The announcement includes new measures like more interactive signage along the 401 that could report speed advisories, weather, traffic and construction alerts.
There will also be improvements to the provincial government’s ‘Canada511’ website.
“This traveller information service also includes current reported road conditions and more traffic and weather cameras to help drivers stay informed,” said Del Duca.
The mayor of Prescott has been lobbying for updated safety measures since last spring.
“We had a bit of a delay there at the start. I would have liked to have gotten to it before we had issues with snow and so forth but we’re at the table now. We’re moving forward and we’re going to make up for some of that lost time,” said Mayor Brett Todd.
Todd is one of the mayors on the ‘safe corridor’ working group along with ministry representatives and Ontario Provincial Police.
“Collaboration. That’s the big keyword that I saw today. We’re working together to solve a mutual problem in the province of Ontario,” said Insp. Paul Bedard, with the East Region OPP.
Police will be conducting a series of targeted commercial vehicle enforcement blitzes to ensure the safe transportation of dangerous goods on Highway 401.
The mayor of Leeds and the Thousand Islands points to a fatal 401 crash earlier this year — involving dozens of vehicles and a toxic chemical spill from a transport truck.
“We were one spark away from what could have been a major evacuation in eastern Ontario,” admits Mayor Joseph Baptista. “That’s one incident but there could be many more as climate change comes full force at us.”
The working group is scheduled to have their next meeting Dec. 15.