LET­TERS TO THE EDI­TOR

Kingston Whig-Standard - - OPINION - Bob Hel­liar Kingston

In­fras­truc­ture up­grades needed all over city

It was shock­ing to see that the cost of the pro­posed third cross­ing has bal­looned by 50 per cent to $180 mil­lion. One won­ders what the cost will be at the time con­struc­tion would ac­tu­ally start. I sug­gest that this cost in­crease begs a re-ex­am­i­na­tion of the project.

There are sev­eral other rea­sons to re-ex­am­ine the need for this project. First of all, High­way 401 is be­ing widened to three lanes from east of the Montreal Street exit to the High­way 15 exit. I un­der­stand that the cost of this project, which in­cludes a six-lane bridge over the Cataraqui River, will be in the $30-mil­lion range.

This widen­ing of the 401 will make it more at­trac­tive to com­muters from the east side of the Cataraqui River to use the 401 and Montreal Street to go down­town in­stead of the High­way 15/LaSalle Cause­way route. The six-lane 401 will re­duce the like­li­hood of a com­plete clo­sure of the 401, which can cause some traf­fic to de­tour through the city of Kingston. Re­duc­ing de­tours through the in­ner part of the city is cited as one of the main rea­sons for the new bridge.

The ar­gu­ment that the new bridge is needed to pro­vide an ad­di­tional emer­gency route when ei­ther the 401 or the cause­way is closed ig­nores that there is al­ready a third cross­ing within the city bound­aries. The newly re­con­structed bridge at Kingston Mills will pro­vide this once it re­opens shortly.

I live on the east side of the Cataraqui River and use the LaSalle Cause­way reg­u­larly. I have no­ticed that traf­fic tie-ups have de­creased, even dur­ing rush hour, over the past few years. I find that travel times are now only five to 10 min­utes longer dur­ing rush hour com­pared to other times. I think the new ex­press bus service has done a lot to al­le­vi­ate traf­fic con­ges­tion in this area. Have the traf­fic stud­ies been up­dated to look at the im­pact of the im­proved bus service?

The city could do a lot of projects with the mil­lions it could save by not build­ing the third cross­ing. The street I live on is in need of a ma­jor makeover. The ag­ing pave­ment is filled with pot­holes, and the street has all kinds of drainage prob­lems. I think of what new pave­ment would do for Brock Street or John­son Street ev­ery time I drive on those streets. I am sure res­i­dents of other parts of the city have sim­i­lar thoughts about how this sav­ings could fix their street or do other projects.

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