Province announces concrete barriers are coming to Hwy. 401, near Chatham

FILE - According to the Ministry of Transportation, high-tension cable barriers will be installed for the short term. Stephen C. Host / Canadian Press

Concrete median barriers, west of London, are coming but not right away.

That’s according to Kathryn McGarry, the new minister of transportation, who said the government will install the safety measure in the 136-­kilometre stretch between London and Tilbury on Monday, but added that more time is needed.

“This process is about making the right decisions to improve road safety, and that is why our path forward balances the need for quick action while also planning for the next steps,” said McGarry in a written statement to 980 CFPL.

According to the Ministry of Transportation, high-tension cable barriers will be installed for the short term.

“This decision came after additional work and analysis by ministry staff and many important conversations with families and advocates who have personally felt the impact of a fatal collision on this highway,” said McGarry.

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READ MORE: Chatham town hall continues push to ‘Build the Barrier’ along Hwy 401 stretch dubbed ‘Carnage Alley’

For Alysson Storey, however, there is real concern that promises of a concrete barrier won’t be kept.

“That’s why we aren’t going anywhere. We will continue to be loud and keep the government in check about their promise,” said Storey.

Storey’s push to get the barriers gained momentum after her friends Sarah Payne, 42, and her daughter, Freya, 5, of London, were killed in an Aug. 29 crossover crash near Dutton, west of London.

She organized a massive petition tabled at Queen’s Park last fall and campaigned online under the Twitter hashtag #BuildTheBarrier.

“Anyone who drives this section of the 401 knows that approximately 40 per cent to 50 per cent of traffic is commercial tractor trailers,” she said.

“All of the research, including the MTO’s research, shows that the only way to really protect drivers is with concrete barriers.”

Some concerns were raised as to why the concrete barriers are not going in first.

“They could put them in, but we [advocates] agree that the cable barriers should be put in this year as promised so an assessment can be made to the state of the infrastructure on that stretch of road,” said Storey.
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An emotional Storey told 980 CFPL the fight for safer highways isn’t finished.

“We can’t let any other families go through what we have, we just can’t,” she said.

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