Hamilton off-ramp should include MASH rails

Hamilton approved the Mohawk Road off-ramp that will give more people access to westbound Highway 403 in Ancaster. Locals celebrated the news as plans for construction of the ramp have been in the works for almost three years.

The Mohawk off-ramp will cost just over $4 million and will incorporate the construction of the ramp and an automatic queue-end warning system. This warning system is needed to let drivers know if traffic is spilling onto the exit ramp in order to avoid collisions. The city is required to pay for the warning system and provide capital to operate and maintain the ramp for the next 50 years, beginning with a budget of over $1.8 million. The remaining $2.2 million will be incorporated into future city budgets.

Little information is provided as to the guiderails that will be used on the ramp, but hopefully MASH standard guardrails will be used in the construction of the off-ramp. When vehicles are leaving the highway at high speeds, it is essential to have up-to-standard safety mechanisms in place to ensure that if a vehicle loses control, it doesn’t leave the ramp and impact other vehicles on Highway 403 or Mohawk Rd. If the guiderails used in construction follow outdated NCHRP-350 standards, regulations set in 1993, this safety mechanism will not adequately protect vehicles traveling on the new ramp. Instead, MASH standard guiderails need to be used and maintained, which have higher crash-test standards meant for heavier and more modern vehicles.

The off-ramp is a part of the larger Ancaster Transportation Master Plan that includes the Rousseau/Mohawk Rd. This road will also receive sidewalks, and will have one more lane of traffic added to it. Hopefully, the master road plan includes updated guardrails on Mohawk Rd. as well and on the off-ramp.

The Mohawk off-ramp will be a welcome addition for commuters traveling between Ancaster and Hamilton, and the design of the roadway is expected to be high quality construction. In order to ensure that the ramp is built to the highest standard possible, MASH-standard guardrails must also be included.

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