UPDATE: High Tension Cable Barriers Coming To Chatham-Kent

High tension cable barriers are coming to Hwy. 401 in Chatham-Kent.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the commitment yesterday during Question Period.

The Ministry of Transportation says installation will begin in 2018 as part of a reconstruction project in the area. The work will include installing the high tension cable barriers within the grass median from the beginning of the four-lane section of Hwy. 401 in Tilbury easterly to the Victoria Rd. interchange in Chatham-Kent for a total length of 50km.

The province is also planning on including this type of barrier system in the median for upcoming contracts for Hwy. 401 through Elgin County.

According to the province, the system is specifically designed to keep vehicles from crossing into oncoming traffic.

"High tension cable barrier systems are designed and crash tested to redirect or contain errant vehicles from crossing grass medians," says a statement issued by the province.


Traffic is backed up on Hwy. 401 after crash involving for tractor trailers near Tilbury on July 28, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

The commitment comes as a group of Chatham-Kent residents submitted a petition calling for concrete barriers to be installed.

Petition organizer Alysson Storey is not satisfied.

"That is not acceptable," says Storey. "The research we have seen so far has shown that while the high tension cable barriers are very effective in passenger vehicles and larger pick-up trucks in stopping them from crossing over, they are not as effective in stopping transport trucks."

The concrete cable barriers are used in several jurisdictions including in Michigan.

Storey says despite their use elsewhere, the concern remains.

"Anyone who has driven between London and Tilbury knows that there is a huge number of transport trucks on that stretch of road and so that is not going to be an acceptable solution."

The fight isn't over just yet according to Storey.

"[The province is] going to get to know us very very well at Queen's Park," says Storey. "We are not going to give up on this, we are not letting this one go, it is too important to all of our lives, it is not something that is going away and we will keep pushing until we see it until the end."

Storey admits it is better than nothing, but it is still not a solution.