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QEW Detour Plan ‘fell off the tracks’

From the St. Catharines Standard

Motorists travelling through St. Catharines on the QEW are a mile closer to traffic-jam relief whenever the highway shuts down.

Niagara Region and Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation have arranged a meeting in early June to discuss implementing an emergency detour plan.

The plan, in the works since 2003, would direct motorists off the highway through St. Catharines in the event of a QEW or Highway 406 closure.

Traffic confusion leading to road congestion was evident Tuesday afternoon when the QEW was closed after a concrete slab fell off the Martindale Bridge during rush-hour traffic. The bridge is slated to be replaced this year as part of a massive QEW expansion project through St. Catharines.

St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley, the transportation minister, said implementing the plan has become a priority.

The province and the Region have “agreed to resolve this matter at the earliest opportunity,” Bradley said.

“Our ministry is contacting the Region to see if we can be helpful at all.

“It certainly would be advantageous to have it as quickly as possible. Our ministry’s determined to do it. The Region’s determined to do it. It should be done.”

Niagara Region transportation director Joe Cousins said earlier this week the detour plans were in the hands of MTO staff who had yet to approve them.

In turn, MTO spokeswoman Emna Dhahak said the ministry was waiting on the Region to get the approval of Ontario Provincial Police and Niagara Regional Police.

Cousins said Thursday miscommunication came into play.

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