Cable Barriers Lucky To Stop Weekend Crash, Says Local Advocate

Photos of the scene after a crash on the Hwy. 401 near Kenesserie Rd. in Chatham-Kent. (Photos courtesy of Chatham-Kent OPP)

A woman campaigning for concrete barriers along local sections of Hwy 401 said she is happy cable barriers helped prevent tragedy over the weekend, but it still isn’t enough.

Alysson Storey is the founder of the Build a Barrier group, with a goal of adding a concrete median between London and Tilbury on the 401.

Over the weekend a pickup truck carrying an engine lost control and launched the engine into oncoming traffic, hitting a semi and causing it to lose control. Storey said while injuries were minimized with a cable barrier, those involved were lucky to escape.

“First of all the cables are not test rated for transports because they’re not designed for them in the first place,” Storey said. “In every instance that we’ve seen around the world, concrete is always the best option for vehicles of that size, speed and weight.”

Storey added not only is a concrete barrier the only thing that can prevent a tractor trailer from crossing over, but it would also prevent debris, like the engine, from crossing and would save money.

“We still had traffic closed for almost eight hours, we still had first responders put at risk, we now have MTO workers who have to repair the cables unprotected,” Storey said. “While it’s a good enough solution, it’s not good enough permanently. There are still a lot of other elements at play with cables. When you have concrete, all those variables are eliminated.”

While Storey admits there are roadways where the cables would work, she said they often have very wide medians and low truck traffic. Storey said the stretch of highway in Chatham-Kent is the complete opposite.

According to Storey, she has the support of three local MPPs, Rick Nicholls, Monte McNaughton and Jeff Yureck, along with the province for her cause.

“Premier [Doug] Ford did promise, two different times right here in Chatham, that he would build the concrete barriers. I look forward to him keeping that promise,” she said.

Storey added the cable barriers are currently being put in as a temporary solution before the concrete ones can be established. She said she wished they would just save time and money by putting concrete in now and will provide any support she can to expedite the process.