A section of Highway 40 in Sarnia. 25 March 2021. (BlackburnNews.com photo by Colin Gowdy)A section of Highway 40 in Sarnia. 25 March 2021. (BlackburnNews.com photo by Colin Gowdy)

Still a long road ahead for Hwy. 40 widening

A preliminary design and Class Environment Assessment (EA) Study for the widening of Highway 40 from Indian Road to just north of Wellington Street is expected to take about two years to complete and cost $2.65 million.

The City of Sarnia was notified of study commencement on April 28, a few weeks after GHD was retained to complete the preliminary design and EA study.

As stated in a notice addressed to Chief Administrative Officer Chris Carter, the study will "review and consider alternatives to a previous Preliminary Design Study undertaken in 2004 based on the current transportation and environmental conditions in the Study Area to determine the preferred solution."

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) sent an emailed statement to Sarnia News Today and said the current study area is different from the one studied over a decade ago, as the  2004 study area covered Hwy. 40 from Hwy. 402 to Churchill Road.

Some aspects that will be taken into consideration in regards to design options for widening the seven-kilometer stretch of roadway include intersection design, municipal road realignments, drainage improvements, and twinning of the CN Rail overhead structure.

"It will be completed using the current Class EA process, [updated] environmental investigations, utilize current design standards, and take into account changes that have occurred in the area of the project, such as traffic forecasts, land use and development," said MTO West Operation Communications Coordinator Hanna Holmes.

The cost of the study is provincially funded.

"Once the preliminary design and EA is complete, detail design and construction are the next steps, and will be scheduled along with other provincial expansion priorities once the planning work is complete," said Holmes.

The project's process was initiated last summer after it was included in the Ontario 2021 budget.

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