On Monday, Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton and Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek announced the busy intersection of Richmond Street (Highway 4) and Saintsbury Line will see some major upgrades in the new year.
In addition to the new traffic light system, the $1.2 million project will also see improved sidewalks and road widening.
Speaking with 980 CFPL about the announcement, Lucan Biddulph Township mayor Cathy Burghardt-Jesson said the province would be footing a majority of the bill, while the county and township would pay the rest.
“[The county has] also provided in-kind items towards the project, and that is the actual engineering… so that will total between $300,000 and $400,000. And then we, as the township, are on for the balance, which is anywhere between $100,000 and $200,000.”
Burghardt-Jesson said the annoucement puts to an end a lengthy back-and-forth between local politicians and the province about the intersection, which has seen a significant increase in vehicular traffic in recent years, prompting congestion and safety concerns.
“Oh hurdles, there were so many hurdles,” she said, referencing the some nine years she says she’s been in talks with the province about the issue.
“The corner, there’s three levels of government: there’s the province, the County of Middlesex, and then there’s us at the municipal level. And we all have interests in the corner,” she said.
“Because it’s a provincial highway, the province is the authority. They did not see it as a priority a number of years ago… You’re competing against other infrastructure projects across the province.”
Several years ago, Burghardt-Jesson recalled, the township and county offered to partner together and pay for the cost of the traffic light.
“For us to do that it probably would have been… about a $600,000 to $700,000 job at the very most,” she said. “But when you bring the province into it, it’s a different beast.
“They have different parameters that they have to follow. And once the province is involved, the cost of this intersection is going to be $1 million, and we didn’t have that.”
Despite the delay, Burghardt-Jesson said she’s glad the project is finally moving forward.
“It’s going to make it a completely different intersection,” she said, adding time and pedestrian safety will be the among the biggest improvements.
Work is set to get started next summer.
Source: Global News