Province approves funding to expand environmental assessment for Highway 174
After years of waiting, the province of Ontario has finally agreed to fund an environmental assessment for Highway 174 from Trim Road all the way to Rockland.
At a recent press conference, it was announced that the province is helping the City of Ottawa participate in an environmental assessment study lead by the United Counties of Prescott-Russell to look at future widening of Ottawa Road 174/Prescott-Russell Road 17.
The province will provide an additional $1 million to expand the study to cover the widening of the road from two to four lanes between Trim Road and Rockland.
The assessment is expected to take two years to complete.
"Our government is committed to supporting this project because it will not only support road safety, but it will ease congestion and help the residents of Prescott and Russell spend less time in traffic and more time with their families," said Glengarry-Prescott-Russell Liberal MPP Grant Crack.
Commuters east of Trim Road face one of the worst downtown commutes, both long and unpredictable.
"This will be a tremendous improvement for the people," said minister of transportation Bob Chiarelli.
The city approved an environmental assessment to widen Highway 174 last year, which the province was already contributing $5 million toward.
However, that study only looked at the lanes between the split and Trim Road, expanding to six lanes from four.
In May 2010, former Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MPP Jean-Marc Lalonde announced the province's commitment of $4 million to begin the environmental assessment phase of the project.
The UCPR agreed to take the lad on the two-year study, which originally was only going to focus on 8.4 kilometres of County Road 17, east of Canaan Road.
The 12.4 kilometre stretch to the west where it widens into the four-lane Queensway at Trim Road was not part of the project until now.
In 2009, a study done by the City of Ottawa reported that there have been 270 collisions between 2003 and 2007, including five fatal collisions, on the busy stretch of road.
Provincial officials have made it clear they don't intend to repeat an offer that was rejected by the City of Ottawa two years ago to fund a study including the city's portion of the road, which included $80 million from the federal and provincial governments to cover most of any ensuing road construction costs.
Ottawa-Orleans MPP Phil McNeely said that the highway is currently the only route to work for many living in Alfred, Cumberland, Rockland and Orleans.
"So I'm pleased that this environmental assessment includes this important section of Ottawa," he said. "As with all environmental assessments this will consider all options and have to consider future transportation facilities, probably including the bridge from Quebec eventually and an extension of the light rail from Blair to Trim."