Volume 12 Week 5

Monday, Nov. 24


 

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Updated Aug. 21

Updated Nov. 21

Posted Sept. 16


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Commentary
King Edward truck tunnel study proof good ideas never grow old
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Well, the powers that be are finally going to take a serious look at building a tunnel under King Edward Avenue to get rid of the trucks downtown. Hallelujah.

At the risk if straining my arm to pat myself on the back, this is something that I have been calling for since October 2009, but as my grandfather used to say good ideas never grow old.

The thought of using a tunnel to get rid of the heavy trucks using King Edward, Rideau and Nicholas Streets actually dates back to the King Edward Avenue Renewal Planning and Environmental Study conducted in the two years following amalgamation.

The study looked at a number of options to ease traffic on King Edward including five possible tunnel options. They were all rejected for the most part because it was assumed the city would have to pick up the entire cost.

A tunnel was also briefly considered in the very early stages of the Interprovincial Crossings study, but it was dismissed on the faulty assumption that the southern portal would have to be built on the north side of Laurier Avenue. As a result it would have a negative impact on the intersection at Nicholas and Laurier both in terms of vehicular traffic as well as pedestrian and bicycle circulation.

The consultants were also concerned about having two northound lanes coming out of the tunnel and combining with traffic on King Edward to merge onto the MacDonald-Cartier bridge which currently has three lanes in both directions. However, this assumes that the tunnel would have four lanes. If you restrict the tunnel to truck traffic only you could get away with two lanes, or at the very least have a third lane for emergencies.

The current option which will be studied at a cost of $2.5 million calls for a tunnel to be dug under King Edward Avenue from Lees Avenue to just before the MacDonald-Cartier Bridge. This makes all the sense in the world because A) it would get rid of the trucks and B) it will get rid of the trucks.

As for the cost, Mayor Watson is in complete agreement with what I wrote in 2009 when I suggested the tunnel could be paid for by the trucking industry through the use of tolls.

When I wrote my column back in 2009, it was with the hope that the tunnel option might be included in Phase 2 of the Interprovincial Crossings Study. It was not, much to my chagrin, and for the next four years the consultants proceeded down a path that was doomed from the outset and a colossal waste of money.

Let's hope this next study will be the last.

(Posted 8:30 a.m., Aug. 27)

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