Highway 401 Has Been Completed To The Border
I felt crummy yesterday. Coughing, sneezing, sore throat.
I must have been hallucinating too due to a high fever. The thought just kept going through my head that Highway 401 had in fact been completed to the border.
How could that be possible you say? Haven't we spent the last three or four years and millions of taxpayer dollars on consultants trying to figure out where a new border crossing should go and where the road connection between the Ambassador Bridge (or the new bridge) and Highway 401 should be?
Don't you just hate it there is some information that you had read that answers your question but you cannot remember where it is. So back to my mountain of research data and dig, dig, dig.
Then I found it.
It was that Eddie bugaboo who had given me the answer a long time ago but I had never thought through what he said. Not only was he right, but what he said helped me now explain the disaster known as DRIC. It all fell right into place.
To be direct, I probably am one of the few people in Windsor who has kept up with the Border issue and who has read most of the DRIC materials. Until about a month ago, I thought I had a good handle on it. However, with the weird way that DRIC eliminated the Bridge Co. (a lawsuit just begging to be started), the diagonal bridge, the S-Bridge, the destruction of Sandwich with DRIC's proposed plaza and Sterling Fuels crossing, the Livernois/Dragoon plaza and crossing and the possible Prospect bridge I could no longer make any sense of this. And if you throw in the City's sabre rattling about a possible Estrin launched lawsuit, then I was completely confused.
So I re-read a piece that Dennis DesRosiers had written on the east- west corridor:
- "I was in the Automotive Parts Manufacturing Association's office a few weeks ago and noticed an Ontario map on the wall where they had put pins in place representing all of Canada's parts manufacturing facilities. From looking at this map it dawned on me that the Canadian automotive sector may not have a long-term problem with the Windsor/Detroit border after all. The simple fact of the matter is that the automotive sector in Canada is now more aligned along an east/west corridor starting in Sarnia and ending in Fort Erie than a north/south corridor starting in Windsor and ending in Eastern Ontario.
And a lot has happened to strengthen the east/west corridor infrastructure. The Bluewater bridge in Sarnia was recently twinned and a new state of the art train tunnel that can handle Double Decker rail cars was built in Sarnia in the early 1990s. The 403 highway between the 401 and Sarnia currently is being upgraded. There are now five, and about to be six border crossings in the Niagara region with the twinning of one of their bridges. I understand that this is in the design stage and will be built over the next few years. Hwy. 403 is being linked to the QEW and Hwy. 406 might be extended to Fort Erie, hopefully in the near future. This will strengthen the connection between the 401 and the Niagara region. Within a decade the new mid-peninsula highway linking the 401 to New York through the Niagara Peninsula will be built. This project is in environmental review at this time and it looks like it will be built, possibly in less time than anticipated. If an OEM comes in and builds an assembly plant at either or both ends of this east/west corridor then the axis will be solidified and the Canadian automotive industry will have almost totally re-aligned itself away from its traditional unionized north/ south corridor to a new primarily non-union east/west corridor.
This new east/west corridor will have very strong border infrastructure at each end and a very well developed highway system linking all players in between. This new east/west corridor is already a magnet for investments from the overseas players moving to North America.
Then I happened to watch Jeff Watson being interviewed by John Fairley on Face-to-Face. Lo and behold, John asked him about the east-west corridor and not only did Jeff agree, he also pointed out that Sault Ste. Marie was trying to get into the picture as well. For those of you who do not know, the Soo is looking at MULTI MODAL OPPORTUNITIES
- "The City of Sault Ste. Marie appreciates our strategic location at the hub of the Great Lakes and central to North America and that our location affords us an opportunity to promote ourselves as a multi modal transportation hub for rail-air-marine-truck modes of transportation.
Our position at the north end of US Interstate 75, an underutilized highway that connects with Highway 17 at our City and the International Bridge between Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan is not congested unlike other border city locations in Southern Ontario. A Multi Modal Transportation Hub in Sault Ste. Marie would help ease congestion problems in Southern Ontario."
Then I read about the I-69 corridor project:
- "I-69 Project Overview
I-69 today connects Indianapolis with the Canadian border at Port Huron, Michigan/Sarnia, Ontario. While it only passes through two states now, it is an important link between the lower Midwest and the most populous provinces of Canada. However, current plans will extend Interstate 69 much further.
The proposed I-69 extension will connect three different border crossings in Texas (Laredo, McAllen, and Brownsville) to I-465 in Indianapolis; from there, traffic will continue over the existing I-69 and other freeways to border crossings in Detroit, Port Huron or Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Approximately 1600 miles of freeway (including the 3 Texas branches) will be added to existing I-69 when it is complete."
Then I found an article about the I-69/I-75 Mid-Michigan Intermodal Trade Corridor.
- "The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) plans to spend $1.8 billion, mainly federal dollars over the next 25 years to develop the I-69/I-75 Mid-Michigan Intermodal Trade Corridor.
This regional plan includes Saginaw, Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer and St. Clair counties working and cooperating together called the Intermodal Trade Corridor Plan.
The Trade Corridor Plan will help the five target counties capitalize on their location at the crossroads of a national and international transportation network. A recent MDOT report that featured the results of a study conducted by the Corradino Group of Michigan, Inc., notes: “The vision of this study is to develop a major regional intermodal freight system serving air, surface, rail and waterway transportation needs with seamless interaction among all transportation modes.”
Accordingly, MDOT officials announced in a recent press release that the Trade Corridor Plan provides “a competitive advantage for commodity flow; it creates a new dimension in the regions’ economy; and, improves the quality of life for the region’s citizens.”
The hub and satellite concept used in Youngstown, Louisville and Fort Worth will be followed in further developing Flint’s Bishop and Saginaw’s MBS international airports according to state officials."
So even in my feverish brain, the message started coming through loud and clear: THE HIGHWAY 401 CONNECTION TO THE BORDER HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE....ONLY IT IS CALLED HIGHWAY 402 TO SARNIA! The move has been on for a long time to shift traffic from the I-75 NAFTA Super Highway route to a new I-69 corridor focusing on Port/Huron Sarnia as the key border crossing.
Don't you get it now. The DRIC was doomed to fail from Day One! The elimination of the Bridge Co. proposal (even though hundreds of millions had been spent on the Gateway project), the fight over where a new bridge should go, the ridiculous sums for the cost of a new crossing, the desire for someone to sue them was all part of an effort to move the main part of the border away from Windsor/Detroit to Sarnia/Port Huron. If DRIC dies, then a new crossing dies as well. And with the doom and gloomers saying the border here does not work, then who in their right mind would make an investment here.
Oh, so you still think I am hallucinating do you? Check out what U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Twp., said in Crains the other day:
- "the Blue Water Bridge could challenge the Ambassador Bridge as the No. 1 crossing point between the U.S. and Canada.
Miller helped secure $43 million in federal funds to build a new U.S.-side inspections plaza for the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. The new plaza, she said, will streamline traffic, improve security and generate dollars for the Michigan and U.S. economies by cutting down on border wait times.
Miller said that while the Detroit International Bridge Co., which owns and operates the Ambassador Bridge, has hit some snags in its massive plaza expansion, the Blue Water Bridge last year took over the No. 2 border crossing spot from Buffalo, N.Y.
“We’ve been surging along,” she said."
I read an interesting article the other day in the Free Press that was headlined "A NEW CHAPTER: Backers say Detroit is poised to boom." It said at the end ""Detroit's decline was more magnified than other urban areas so it's taken more time to get grounded," he said, adding that the Super Bowl gave the city and the region a kick-start. "Detroit is an easier sell now."
Well, I have to say that we will not be able to sell the region if the border does not work and if the I-69 corridor is now Michigan's focus.
So where do we go from here....Just keep reading this Blogsite!