VIDEO: Highway 3 Expansion to Begin in 2021
A pledge to widen about 20 kilometres of Highway 3 has been announced by Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney.
Standing next to the highway, the minister on Monday said the highway will be widened from the Town of Essex to County Road 34.
Mulroney also announced a six-kilometre section from County Road 34 to Highway 77 will be repaved.
Mulroney adds the price-tag for the project is still under wraps.
"We certainly have cost estimates for the project, but I can't disclose them at this time because we want to make sure that the bids that come in are done in a competitive way," says Mulroney. "So once the contract is awarded that information will be made public, but at this time cost estimates won't be shared."
Minister Mulroney says there is already work taking place on the project.
"This week we've got an environmental consultant that's been engaged on the project. So we are moving as quickly as we can," notes the minister. "We have a number of regulatory things we need to make sure we follow all the rules, that we do the project in the right way, but we are moving very quickly, this project is a priority for our government."
Minister Mulroney says she understands the previous government also pledged to widen the highway.
"People can sometimes be skeptical of promises that are made, we're early in our mandate. Our government campaigned on this," says Mulroney. "As I said (Chatham-Kent-Leamington) MPP (Rick) Nicholls has been a vocal advocate for this in our caucus, in our government. Our Premier was very clear during the campaign that this was going to be a priority for us."
"I'm proud that our government is delivering on its promise and making this project a priority by accelerating the planning, so that we can get shovels in the ground as quickly as possible," said Chatham-Kent-Leamington PC MPP Rick Nicholls. "Not only will the widening of Highway 3 improve safety, but it will also bring economic opportunity to the residents and businesses of Essex County."
The contract for the repaving portion of the work is to begin in 2021.
Stats from the provincial government show as many as 17,300 vehicles travel Highway 3 per day.
"The municipality is relieved to hear of the completion of the widening of Highway 3 to Leamington, improving the safety of Leamington and Essex County residents and visitors, who travel the highway daily with increasing frequency," said Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald. "This expansion will allow for more efficient export of products grown and manufactured in Leamington, supporting our thriving local economy."
"I am very pleased to learn of the announcement of the widening of Highway 3," added Lakeshore Mayor and former Essex County Warden Tom Bain. "MPP Nicholls and I have been advocating for this for several years. Thank you Premier Ford for following through on your campaign promise."