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Update on widening of 401 and proposal to twin Belleville bridge

Council is to hear about widening of Highway 401 and the possibility of twinning the Norris Whitney Bridge during Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Glen Higgins, project manager, planning and design, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, is set to make a presentation on the planning and environmental assessment work for improvements to the Hwy 401 corridor through Belleville, as well as the rehabilition of the Norris Whitney Bridge linking the County.

The MTO is looking at widening Hwy 401 in Belleville from Wallbridge-Loyalist Road to five kilometres east of Hwy 62 to a future six lanes, from four. Its ultimate configuration, the report states, is to widen to eight lanes, from six.

Work on the bridge outlines replacement of ashphalt and waterproofing, patch repair of concrete on the deck, replacement of expansion joints and pot bearings at the abutments.

The 900-metre, 11-span steel girder bridge structure is reported to be in generally good condition. Higgins’ presentation states existing issues for the bridge deck’s major rehabilitation is the high traffic volume and long-term traffic disruptions. The study is examining alternatives for traffic – including the future widening, twinning, or replacement of the structure.

At a public meeting in December in Belleville, the MTO noted it is favouring the building of a second bridge across the Bay of Quinte. In conjunction, it is also looking at improvements to Wallbridge-Loyalist Road and highways 62 and 37 interchanges including proposals to merge Hwy 37 with a new arterial road and new connections from 62 to 36.

Preliminary designs and approvals could be completed by the end of this year, with no firm dates for construction starts. Construction on the Belleville Bridge, he said, will not begin until the bridge work at Deseronto is complete.

Filed Under: Local News

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