401 un­der­pass work on MTO’s radar

The Glengarry News - - News - BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL News Staff

The Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion has re­tained a Toronto-based firm to com­plete a Class En­vi­ron­men­tal As­sess­ment (Class EA) and De­sign study for three in­fra­struc­ture projects lo­cated along High­way 401 in South Glen­garry.

Ac­cord­ing to a let­ter the town­ship re­cently re­ceived from Dil­lon Con­sult­ing Ltd., the stud­ies for the County Road 2/34 un­der­pass re­place­ment, as well as the re­place­ment of two Raisin River bridges, will be com­pleted as “Group B” projects, while the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Fin­ney Creek Cul­vert – lo­cated un­der the 401, east of the County Road 2/34 in­ter­change – will be a “Group C” project.

Ac­cord­ing to the MTO, “Group B” ini­tia­tives are pri­mar­ily high­way im­prove­ments “that pro­vide or cause a sig­nif­i­cant mod­i­fi­ca­tion in traf­fic ac­cess,” and are “ma­jor im­prove­ments to ex­ist­ing pro­vin­cial trans­porta­tion fa­cil­i­ties.”

“Group C” projects are par­tially de­scribed as “mi­nor im­prove­ments to ex­ist­ing pro­vin­cial trans­porta­tion fa­cil­i­ties...over land and wa­ter that pro­vide mi­nor or no in­crease in traf­fic ca­pac­ity,” and in­clude “drainage im­prove­ments that do not in­volve land or wa­ter bod­ies out­side the ROW (right of way) and do not have ma­jor foot­print im­pacts.”

Public con­sul­ta­tion is re­quired for “Group B” projects, but those clas­si­fied as “Group C” are ex­empt, given that they are con­sid­ered “mi­nor” im­prove­ments, with “min­i­mal and pre­dictable en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects that are read­ily mit­i­gated.”

The let­ter ex­plains that the stud­ies will iden­tify the “most ap­pro­pri­ate method to re­place/re­ha­bil­i­tate the struc­tures and will as­sess the im­pacts, in­clud­ing traf­fic man­age­ment dur­ing con­struc­tion, and im­pacts to the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.”

The County Road 2/34 project in­volves re­place­ment of the ex­ist­ing mid-1960s-era bridge, while main­tain­ing the cur­rent num­ber of traf­fic lanes.

There will be no traf­fic clo­sures through­out the con­struc­tion pe­riod, although overnight de­tours of 401 traf­fic are an­tic­i­pated while the bridge it­self is be­ing de­mol­ished. Short-du­ra­tion ramp clo­sures are also likely. Re­place­ment of the two 401 bridges span­ning the Raisin River will re­quire high­way traf­fic to be re­stricted to one lane in each di­rec­tion dur­ing con­struc­tion.

As for the Fin­ney Creek Cul­vert project, a sep­a­rate study will as­sess and de­ter­mine the ex­tent of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion re­quired and any other re­lated im­pacts.

The let­ter from Dil­lon Con­sult­ing states that “public and agency con­sul­ta­tion is an im­por­tant com­po­nent” of the EA and de­sign process, that a public in­for­ma­tion fo­rum will be held “once po­ten­tial im­pacts and mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures are fur­ther de­vel­oped,” and that no­ti­fi­ca­tion of such a meet­ing will be pub- lished in lo­cal news­pa­pers.

No timetable has been re­leased re­gard­ing po­ten­tial start­ing con­struc­tion dates for any of the projects. How­ever, the MTO’s South­ern High­ways

Pro­gram 2015-2019 re­port in­cludes both the County Road 2/34 and Raisin River bridges re­place­ments on a page en­ti­tled ‘East­ern On­tario Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion 2018-2020.’

MTO-com­mis­sioned pre­lim­i­nary de­tail de­sign and en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment stud­ies are cur­rently un­der­way for three other decades-old High­way 401 bridges in South Glen­garry – in Bainsville (Third Line) Road, Curry Hill (Fourth Line) Road and Lan­caster (Sec­ond Line/West­ley Road), re­spec­tively.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the County Road 2/34, Raisin River bridges and Fin­ney Creek Cul­vert projects, visit www.Lan­cast­erBridges.ca.

WORK­ING ON THE 401: This map, cour­tesy of Dil­lon Con­sult­ing Ltd., shows lo­ca­tions of three pro­posed MTO High­way 401 in­fra­struc­ture projects in South Glen­garry.

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