ISSN 1913-4673 (print)
ISSN 1913-4681 (online)
Our border crossings are vital to both the Ontario and national economies. Every year, approximately 42.5 million vehicles cross the Ontario-US border. This includes nearly 8.5 million trucks. Of the $1.2 trillion worth of goods that move along Ontario's strategic trade corridors each year, $256 billion traverses international bridge crossings linked to Ontario highways. Canada's three busiest crossings — Windsor, Fort Erie and Sarnia — account for over 60 per cent of Canada's road trade with the U.S.
Over the next two years, the Ontario government has partnered with Quebec and the federal government to develop an infrastructure policy and strategy to support international trade and economic growth for the future through the Continental Gateway initiative. This initiative includes strategic ports, airports, intermodal facilities and border crossings as well as essential road, rail and marine infrastructure.
Through strategic investments in our borders and gateways and in partnering with others, the Ontario government is committed to improving traffic flow at all of Ontario's gateways to keep people moving safely and efficiently, to help build prosperity for Ontario families and to strengthen our economy.
The Ontario and Canadian governments are sharing in the cost of all projects through the Border Infrastructure Fund, unless otherwise noted.
Widening and other work along the 46.5 km of the Windsor to Tilbury corridor will improve safety and traffic flow on one of Ontario's most important trade corridors.
Phases 1, 2 and 3, to six-lane Highway 401 from Essex Road 42 to Highway 77, Puce Road to Manning Road, and Essex Road 27 to Highway 77 are already complete.
The Ontario and Canadian governments cost-shared the first three phases of widening under the Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program. Phases 4 and 5 will be cost-shared under the Border Infrastructure Fund.
Phase 3 of construction to widen this section of Highway 401 from four to six lanes began in spring 2006, and was completed in fall 2007. Along with 9.8 km of highway widening, improvements included: median barrier installation; replacing the St. Joachim Road (French Line Road) Bridge; rebuilding the ramps and adding lighting at the interchange; rehabilitating and widening the Ruscomb River Bridge; rehabilitating two underpass structures; and upgrading the Windsor south truck inspection station.
Phase 4, widening from four to six lanes on Highway 3 to Manning Road, is underway and on track to finish in 2010.
Along with 13.2 km of highway widening, work includes: installation of median barrier; high mast lighting replacement; replacement and rehabilitation of overpasses.
The fifth and final phase of construction to widen Highway 401 between Windsor to Tilbury begins in 2008. Work includes: widening 7.2 km of highway from four to six lanes; rehabilitation of Maidstone Township Road 3 and Rochester Township Road 2 underpasses; widening of Belle River Bridge; widening and rehabilitation of Belle River overpass and Duck Creek Bridge; repairs to Big Creek Bridge; and construction of a commuter parking lot at Belle River Road interchange. Completion of Phase 5 is expected by fall 2009.
Ontario is working with the federal government, local municipalities and other agencies to make investments that will address traffic flow, congestion and efficiency at the border crossing in Windsor, under the Let's Get Windsor-Essex Moving strategy.
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation, in partnership with Transport Canada, the U.S Federal Highway Administration and the Michigan Department of Transportation, is leading the Canadian portion of the Detroit River International Crossing study, to seek a long-term solution to border transportation issues in the Windsor area. The study is considering the entire border transportation system — river crossing, inspection plazas and access roads — to achieve an end-to-end solution that will best meet current and future mobility needs, while minimizing impacts on the surrounding communities and environment. The study team announced the technically and environmentally preferred alternatives for the access road, plaza and crossing in Spring 2008 and will submit environmental assessment documents for approval later this year. The recommended solution includes the Windsor-Essex Parkway, which follows the existing Highway 3 corridor and then is located adjacent to the E.C. Row Expressway, to a new plaza and crossing in the industrial area of west Windsor. Target for completion of the entire system is 2013.
Construction is underway to widen this section of Highway 401 from four to six lanes and is expected to finish in 2008. Improvements include: reconstructing the Wellington Road interchange, replacing the Wellington Road structure, rehabilitation of the Dingman Creek structure and Dingman Drive Bridge, installing high mast lighting, upgrading signs and drainage and safety improvements.
As a result of this work, driving conditions and highway operations throughout this area will be improved.
Widening of the Henley Bridge was completed in late 2007, in advance of six-laning the QEW through St. Catharines. The bridge now provides three through lanes plus one auxiliary lane in each direction. Additional abutments and pier footings built during the project will allow the bridge to be widened to 10 lanes across in the future. As part of construction, the bridge's existing heritage arches and monuments were preserved and heritage lighting features were installed.
The QEW is a major economic trade route in Ontario. Six-laning and other improvements will address capacity, safety and operations for the high volumes of local, tourist and border traffic using the QEW through St. Catharines.
Construction has been in full swing since late 2007 and is expected to be completed in 2011. Along with widening the roadway from four to six lanes, work includes: reconstructing and reconfiguring interchanges; replacing Lake Street, Martindale, Geneva Street and Welland Avenue bridges; widening Third Street overpass; rehabilitation of Ontario Street and Niagara Street bridges; and installing tall wall median barrier, new storm drainage, and high mast lighting, and a landscaping and aesthetics plan.
Rehabilitation of Highway 405 is underway and is expected to finish in 2008. Repair of the roadway and its structures will meet existing and future traffic demands for the Queenston-Lewiston border crossing. Work includes extending the Truck Queue Warning System, to provide warning to the entire corridor and enhance safety.
The Thousand Islands Parkway is a scenic border gateway in eastern Ontario and was repaved in 2007 using recycled pavement. Ontario uses a number of reclamation methods to recycle existing pavements, saving considerable energy and reducing gas emissions. In-Place Recycling, the method used for the Parkway, removes existing pavement, then blends and replaces it to improve surface smoothness and durability.
For more information on Ontario border improvements, please visit: www.ontario.ca/transportation