Councillor feels ‘betrayed’ in light of Red Hill Valley Parkway bombshell report

New policies are being proposed at Hamilton City Hall following a bombshell report about the highway's friction level that was kept under wraps for years.
New policies are being proposed at Hamilton City Hall following a bombshell report about the highway's friction level that was kept under wraps for years. 900 CHML

A city councillor says he and his colleagues feel “betrayed” after learning about the bombshell Red Hill report.

Coun. Sam Merulla says when he asked about the quality of the highway’s asphalt in 2015, the public works committee was told the quality not only met but exceeded MTO standards.

Gary Moore, the director of the Red Hill Valley Parkway project at the time, said “we have no concerns” about the friction levels on the highway.

City staff have apologized after finding a consultant’s report that was kept under wraps for six years that found friction levels on the Red Hill were below, and in some places, well below the standard.

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A notice of motion has been filed at city hall, calling for a new policy to direct staff to share any consultant’s reports, documents, memos or correspondences that raise any questions or concerns about current or future risk to human health/safety.

It also aims to develop clear guidelines, expectations, responsibilities and obligations for city staff when responding to inquiries from Hamilton’s auditor general.

In light of the report, the city is going to take several measures, including lowering the speed limit to 80 km/h from Greenhill to the QEW, and moving up a planned resurfacing to this spring.

The city is also hiring a consultant to usher major “rehabilitation” measures for both the Red Hill and Linc.

The families of three people who died in two separate crashes on the Red Hill are considering launching a class action lawsuit.

Statement by Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger:

Following the release of the Red Hill Valley Parkway report by staff earlier this week, it is difficult for Council and I to understand why this report was not brought forward until recently. That is why I give full support to conducting an independent external investigation and I am confident my Council colleagues also support that direction.

Current staff recognized their responsibility to bring the report forward to the public and council, so that we can take appropriate action. Council has directed staff to investigate and report back with recommendations in order to improve internal processes and procedures relative to information management.

We are in the business of delivering high quality public services, being open and transparent with our community and are committed to doing everything we can to ensure ongoing public safety and public trust.

My Council colleagues and I extend sincere sympathies to the families who have been affected and how the nature and timing of this information must be impacting them. We cannot imagine the profound loss they have experienced.

I want the community to know that we have implemented a number of additional safety measures on the Red Hill Valley Parkway and we will continue to study and implement safety enhancements, in addition to lowering the speed limit and resurfacing the road.


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