Construction on Hwy. 401 at Communication Rd., May 6, 2016 (Photo by Jake Kislinsky)

401 Median Barriers Gaining Support & Momentum

A Rondeau woman is making it her mission to get median barriers on Hwy. 401 from Tilbury to London to keep people safer.

Alysson Storey says petitions are now available at all Chatham-Kent municipal service centres and the idea is to deliver them to Queen’s Park next month in hopes of getting them installed.

The issue has a personal connection for Storey because her family was friends with Sarah and Freya Payne, who were killed on Hwy. 401 three weeks ago when a pickup truck crossed the median and struck their van on Hwy. 401 near Dutton.

Storey says that stretch of highway hasn’t changed in nearly 50 years and it needs to.

“We’ve had renovations and repaving and that kind of thing. That stretch was built in the 1950s and what they’re doing on that stretch right now is repaving the exact same stretch and that’s not what we need here anymore,” says Storey.

Chatham-Kent council is supporting the petitions, which will be available until September 27.

Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls is also calling for median barriers and widening of Hwy. 401 across Chatham-Kent.

Storey says that stretch of Hwy. 401 is very busy and needs safety improvements on top of the cosmetic upgrades already underway.

“For whatever reason there are a lot of crossover accidents and we’re not sure why drivers tend to do that. However, without a barrier that’s almost a guaranteed death sentence and we cannot treat the lives of our local drivers with such disrespect,” Storey says.

Storey says the goal is to get 1,000 signatures but more are welcome.

“Unfortunately, Sarah and Freya Payne were killed three weeks ago today on the 401 and those of us who were close to them just can’t allow any other families to go through what their family and friends are going through,” says Storey.