Build the Barrier founder optimistic about transportation plan, but wants to see action

Alysson Storey, founder of the grassroots group Build the Barrier. File photo/Postmedia News SunMedia

Share Adjust Comment Print

The founder of the Build the Barrier group is “cautiously optimistic” about a regional transportation plan by the provincial government but says action is needed.

“We’ve seen this in writing several times now,” Alysson Storey said about the plan’s promise – announced Friday by Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney – to widen the highway and install a concrete barrier on the stretch of Highway 401 between London and Tilbury.

“Plans are great. Action is better,” she added in a media release issued Friday night. “That is what will save lives in Carnage Alley.”

The group was formed in September 2017 by family and friends of people killed in crossover crashes along a stretch of Highway 401 in Chatham-Kent and Elgin County known as Carnage Alley to lobby the provincial government to building a concrete median barrier.

Build the Barrier has been working with former transportation minister and current Environment Minister Jeff Yurek, also MPP for Elgin––Middlesex––London, as well as Chatham-Kent––Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls.

Storey credited Yurek for being “one of our strongest voices since we started on this journey.”

“He knows the dangers drivers and first responders face on this outdated stretch of highway,” she added.

Although she believes Yurek’s leadership is why the concrete barrier work is part of the plan, Storey noted it can’t be ignored that “carnage continues in Carnage Alley.”

There have been 11 fatalities and multiple hospitalizations in collisions on Highway 401 between Tilbury and London since February 2017, along with numerous incidents that caused significant property damage and road closures but did not require hospitalization, she said.

If the top goal of the transportation plan is to get people moving, Storey said it can’t be done “safely if the highway safety infrastructure is out of date.”

If another goal is to support a competitive business environment, she added, “we can’t be competitive as a region, province or country if highway closures are blocking $1 billion in goods from moving every single day.”

Storey said Mulroney has the authority to speed up the construction planning and approvals process.

“While we appreciate seeing the bigger transportation picture, we know what needs to be done and why.” she said.

 

 

Comments