Canada and Ontario Announce Major Steps To Improve The Windsor-Detroit Gateway
WINDSOR -- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Anne McLellan, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Federal Minister of Transport Jean-C. Lapierre and Ontario Minister of Transportation Harinder Takhar were in Windsor today to announce major steps to improve the movement of goods and people at the Windsor-Detroit Gateway, under Phase 2 of the Let's Get Windsor-Essex Moving Strategy.
Using the Schwartz Report as a foundation, the Governments of Ontario and Canada will provide funding to launch the next steps required for implementation of key initiatives recommended in the report. The two governments are committed to moving forward as expediently as possible while safeguarding the economic, environmental and personal health of area residents.
Specifically, the Governments of Canada and Ontario are committed to providing the necessary resources for preparatory work required to proceed with construction of the following new initiatives. These joint commitments, which total up to $21 million, involve completing:
- Environmental assessment and detailed design for improvements to Highway 3/Talbot Road from Highway 401 to Todd Lane;
- Environmental assessment and detailed design to upgrade and extend Lauzon Parkway, from Highway 401 to E.C. Row;
- Environmental assessment and detailed design to upgrade Manning Road from Highway 401 to County Road 22, including the interchange at Highway 401, in the County of Essex;
- Road infrastructure and signing improvements and, in partnership with the ferry operator, a needs and feasibility study for additional truck ferry services;
- Canada and Ontario will issue an expression of interest, followed by a request for proposals, to select a partner(s) to develop a truck marshalling facility in the Windsor-Essex region; and,
- Community-based strategic rail study to examine the opportunities for rail rationalization and the development of an intermodal facility in the vicinity of Windsor Airport, in partnership with the City of Windsor.
"The Government of Canada recognizes that the safe, secure and efficient movement of people and goods is critical to the economic security and the quality of life of Canadians," said Ms. McLellan. "We are committed to working with our partners to make sure that solutions addressing this important border crossing are implemented quickly, efficiently and effectively."
"Our economy depends on the fast and efficient movement of goods, especially at the Windsor-Detroit Gateway," said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. "We are proceeding with these investments to improve road safety, speed up the flow of cross-border traffic, and improve the trade corridor that is so vital to keep our economy moving."
"The Windsor-Detroit Gateway is a vital transportation artery between Canada and the United States and an essential link for the economic prosperity of the City of Windsor, Essex County, Ontario and Canada," said Mr. Lapierre. "Environmental assessments and detailed designs are essential steps to move forward with the implementation of these key transportation projects that will advance our prosperity and security objectives."
"About $140 billion a year in imports and exports cross this border," said Ontario Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar. "The Windsor Gateway is key to making Ontario the North American leader in economic growth. That's why we're ready to start on the next projects that will give us the best possible solutions to easing border congestion."
In addition, the Governments of Canada and Ontario are committing total funding of up to $108 million to proceed with detailed design and construction of the following initiatives:
- Widening of Highway 401 from Highway 3 to Manning Road;
- Highway 3 intersection improvements at Outer Drive and Walker Road; and
- Howard Avenue rail/road grade separation upon successful completion of the environmental assessment currently underway as part of Phase 1 of the Let's Get Windsor-Essex Moving Strategy.
Canada and Ontario are also moving ahead with the implementation of intelligent transportation systems on the approaches to the border crossings, at the borders themselves and along transportation corridors. As part of the Phase 1 agreement, an Action Plan for Intelligent Border Crossing is being prepared and "early-win" projects that will be implemented include:
- Changeable message signs at Highway 401/402 to inform travelers of border traffic conditions at key decision points; and
- Closed circuit cameras on provincial highways and municipal roads to monitor traffic.
All of these initiatives represent an important step forward for the Governments of Canada and Ontario in fulfilling their commitment to the residents of Windsor and Essex County and supporting the efficient flow of people and goods across this critical trade link.
Funding for the Let's Get Windsor-Essex Moving Strategy comes from the Canada-Ontario Border Infrastructure Fund, a joint commitment by the federal and provincial governments to invest $300 million for the implementation of short- and medium-term projects to improve traffic flows to existing crossings and address congestion and security issues at the Windsor-Detroit Gateway. All projects are subject to the relevant requirements under the federal and provincial legislation, including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act.
Backgrounders providing further information about the Windsor-Detroit Gateway and the initiatives announced today are attached.