More Of The Unthinkable
I like it when readers write, especially if they have some background in a specialized area that I do not have. It allows me to continue to provide information to my readers that they won't find anywhere else in town!
Obviously this anonymous reader knows something about the road situation in Windsor so I thought I would set out what he/she says (No-name email accounts are wonderful that way!).
Is all of what is written below pie-in-the-sky dreaming? Hardly. I would expect that there are plans lying around right now to do exactly what is being proposed by my reader! A quick EA on the route and it's all done! Check out the drawing above provided by the writer as well...makes a lot of sense doesn't it!
Remember the Federal Government's Cansult Report that killed the Schwartz Plan. It proposed the following for E C Row:
1.5 E.C. Row Expressway
- 1.5.1 The E.C. Row Expressway carries the largest traffic volumes in the City of Windsor and currently experiences near capacity conditions and is subject to recurring congestion.
As such, improvements to this facility may have great potential to improve traffic
operations in the City.
- 1.5.2 The E.C. Row was planned and designed to allow for expansion to 6 lanes with a short
section of a collector distributor system.
- 1.5.3 Options exist to improve the E.C. Row/Huron Church Interchange to meet short/medium term traffic needs without adversely impacting traffic operations on either facility.
- 1.5.4 Widening of E.C. Row could be coordinated with the expressway rehabilitation needs.
- 1.5.5 Plans for improvements to Talbot Road could provide additional corridor capacity to
allow E.C. Row widening within several years at a minimum level of disruption. However,
improvements to Talbot Road do not eliminate the need to widen E.C. Row.
- 1.5.6 Widening of E.C. Row to a 6 lane section is justified to relieve local traffic congestion,
and could reasonably be assessed in an environmental assessment process prior to
completion of the DRIC study.
- 1.5.7 E.C. Row widening could be justified due to its benefits to the City of Windsor residents, regardless of the selected international border crossing.
- 1.5.8 Widening of E.C. Row would result in increased traffic volumes resulting in increased
noise levels on adjacent areas unless appropriate mitigation measures can be
implemented. Impacts on vehicle emissions would require further investigation.
- 1.5.9 Widening of E.C. Row would provide for redundancy in the access system to the border crossing.
- 1.5.10 In summary, the E.C. Row Expressway is a candidate for inclusion in the “early action” program to relieve traffic congestion in Windsor.
This is an issue that one of the Newbies or Mayor wannabees might be interested in taking up if one is truly looking for an answer for a border road and how to help out Windsor as well. After all, Eddie is nothing but a lame duck Mayor now anyway who is managing his future career goals. It's time that Council looked after Windsor after three years of Francis failures on the most important issue of his job!
My Reader Writes:
EC Row facts to help youThe original 9-point plan involved simply paving an additional lane in each direction from Lauzon to Huron Church at a cost of approximately $150 million. This was the scenario on the table in 2005 and was rightly dismissed as a lame, irresponsible and potentially dangerous solution.
EC Row has been identified in the 2005 Essex Windsor Regional Transportation Master Plan as needing widening along the entire corridor within the next 10-15 years just to deal with regional traffic growth alone. The current Level of Service (LOS), a measure of how well a road is operating and moving traffic, for most sections of EC Row is currently D or lower (including many failing sections). LOS ratings run from A to F, with C being the minimum acceptable for long term planning.
Considering the current state of the expressway (pavement degradation, guardrails falling apart, lack of lighting east of Central, interchanges too close, lack of weaving space between ramps etc etc.) widening EC Row to meet EWRTMP recommendations to address regional need is going to actually now going to likely need the complete reconstruction of the expressway. Cost to rebuild EC Row with the current layout will probably run $500 million or more.
EC Row is required if any development at all is planned for the 6600 acres of Annexed Lands east of the WIndsor Airport. The Annexed Lands master plan includes provisions for an extended Lauzon Parkway connecting EC Row to the 401. Any planned intermodal facility that may be spawned from the Rail Rationalization study will also need Lauzon Parkway extended to the 401.
The Right of Way exists for a significant widening of EC Row from Dougall eastward. The only area where R.O.W. is constricted is between Dougall and Huron Church, which is also the closest that residential areas come to EC Row.
Any improvements to EC Row will likely result in closures of the Dougall interchange, and very possibly the Dominion interchange. The Howard, Dougall, Dominion and Huron Church interchanges are too close to each other for proper and safe operations.
The EC Row alignment does not run through any ANSI or parkland designated areas.
EC Row remarkably, more so than any other alignment, feeds all of the existing and proposed crossings (Ambassador Bridge, Ferry, Tunnel, DRIC Ojibway Bridge). It can be expected that regardless of improvements to the Huron Church/Talbot corridor, a significant amount of truck traffic will always use EC Row and most prominently, local truck traffic.
This all begs the questions;
When the city does decide it needs to address the situation with EC Row where will the funding come from 10 years from now?
How long will the city deny a Lauzon Parkway extension and connection to the 401 and in the process limit potential development of the Annexed Lands or potential creation of an intermodal facility?
Has any study been done to estimate the number of potential jobs expected from a fully built out Annexed Lands? If the number is significant, why has the city not moved more quickly to service those lands which includes road infrastructure?
Does the city have a current plan for dealing with the additional expressway traffic that will likely result from the planned improvements to Manning Road and County Road 22 east of Manning?
What is the city's current liability given the existing safety design deficiencies on EC Row, including lack of lighting east of Central, rusted guardrails, narrow shoulders and a Dougall/Howard ramp set-up that is too close to each other for safe operations?
Could EC Row be reconstructed as a below-grade freeway, with dedicated/physically separated truck lanes, having the local roads (Howard, Walker, Dougall, Dominion) going over the freeway instead of under, and thereby improve city aesthetics, not to mention reduce existing noise levels?
Would it not make more sense to argue for a 1km tunnel for dedicated expressway lanes between Dougall and Huron Church rather than a 10+ km tunnel from the 401 to EC Row along Talbot/Huron Church?
Could an expansion be done for the most part within the existing ROW? Wouldn't the level of impacts (properties purchased) be significantly less than any DRIC alternative?
Could construction be done while maintaining international traffic on the existing corridor?
Could the potential closure of the Dougall and Dominion interchanges lend itself to plans for the Zalev lands north of the expressway?
Could there be tie-ins with the Rail Rationalization study, such as creating a platform for a east-west regional Light Rail Transit corridor adjacent to the expressway?
Would the cost of addressing all of the above be around the same cost as the current DRIC below-grade estimates? Even if slightly higher, wouldn't the MTO be willing to spend the money to save from having to come rescue Windsor 10 years from now on the EC Row funding issue?