‘Action is better.’ Group responds to government’s concrete median plans for 401

Stock photo of a Hwy. 401 sign. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

A group advocating for a concrete median along Highway 401 is calling for less talk and more action, following the release of the provincial government’s newly announced transportation plan.

Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney unveiled the province’s first draft regional transportation plan while in London on Friday, which included adding a concrete barrier on Highway 401 between London and Tilbury — an area of the highway commonly known as Carnage Alley.

The founder of the Build the Barrier advocacy group, Alysson Storey, said she is calling on the Transportation Minister to expedite the planning and approvals process for construction of the barrier.

“We need action. We have seen this in writing several times now. Plans are great. Action is better. That is what will save lives in Carnage Alley,” said Storey in a news release. “While we appreciate seeing the bigger transportation picture, we know what needs to be done and why. We cannot afford to wait while lives are at risk every day.”

Along with the concrete barrier, the provincial government said it plans to improve safety along the 401 by advancing plans to widen the highway to six lanes between London and Tilbury.

Storey said if the government really wants to improve transportation in southwestern Ontario, a safe and modernized Highway 401 is should be the foundation of its entire transportation plan.

“If goal number one of this transportation plan is to get people moving, we can’t do that safely if the highway safety infrastructure is out of date,” said Storey. “We can’t get people moving when the highway is closed every week. If goal number two is to support a competitive business environment, we can’t do that when the highway is closed every six days. 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.”

Build the Barrier is a grassroots advocacy group formed in September 2017 by family and friends of people killed in crossover collisions along Highway 401’s Carnage Alley. The group has maintained that a concrete barrier along would be the most effective method to saves lives on the 401.