When Ontario widens highways, it is also a great opportunity to update and install new guardrails following up-to-date regulations.
The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is widening Highway 401 by 18 km from the Credit River in Mississauga to Regional Road 25 in Milton. The expansion project will add 12 lanes from the Credit River to Winston Churchill Blvd., ten lanes from Winston Churchill Blvd. to Highway 407 ETR. It will also add 12 lanes from Highway 407 ETR to the interchange at James Snow Parkway and 10 lanes from the James Snow Parkway to Regional Road 25.
It is necessary to widen Highway 401 because of the busy and congested area that it is crossing, and it is the perfect opportunity to also add guardrails that follow the updated MASH standards that are being implemented in Ontario to new guardrail systems. The old guardrails adhere to a set of regulations from 1995, known as the NCHRP standards. When completing mandatory construction on one of the busiest interchanges in Canada, it is imperative to ensure that safety mechanisms are being included as a top priority. Providing public information as to what types of guardrails are being installed would show that MTO is dedicated to having a high standard of guardrails.
The province will deliver the project under Infrastructure Ontario’s Alternative Financing and Procurement Model, which will include design, construction and financing of the project under the private sector. Including the cost and implementation of safety mechanisms in this assessment would be an important part of project to include and would further show that the private sector values guardrails on highways as well.
Guardrails are an important part of the collaborative building process and including them in the widening of Highway 401 in the upcoming project is important. Safety mechanisms save lives on busy highways such as the main artery of the 401 and MASH- regulated guardrails are a necessary addition.