Hwy. 3 Expansion Not An Immediate Need, According to Ministry of Transportation

The Ministry of Transportation has gotten back to Essex County Council on a possible expansion of Hwy. 3 and the response isn't what council wanted to hear.

Essex County Warden Tom Bain and several officials travelled to Toronto in March to meet with the Minister of Transportation. They laid out safety concerns and returned home believing that meeting proved fruitful, with the minister requesting more information.

After sending stats to back its claims, council received a letter from the ministry on May 4 stating there will be no expansion planned in the near future and the stats didn't support the need for immediate action.

The letter did indicate the province is still committed to the project as a part of the 2017-2021 Southern Highways Program, but Bain tells AM800 News the road work is something that can’t wait for.

"We certainly feel very strongly, looking at the accident history, looking at the increase we're going to have in greenhouse development, industrial growth, with transportation," he says. "We need a four lane highway."

He says with the provincial election in full swing there is little that can be done until it's over.

"We'll have to sit tight until after the election, but you can be assured whichever party forms a new government, we're going to be knocking on their door," says Bain. "That's a priority for us here in Essex-County."

The ministry did commit to some improvements, but at the end of the day Bain says council would trade those improvements for the expansion.

"They're going to be doing some repaving but for just two lanes so it's a big disappointment," he says.

Work on Hwy. 3, Essex Rd. 34, and Highway 77 will get underway in 2019 and 2021