LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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.