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Conflicting claims on lighting for the Red Hill Expressway

Conflicting claims on lighting for the Red Hill Expressway

At the Red Hill Creek Inquiry the question was raised as to whether the expressway could have been illuminated or not. Gary Moore who was in charge of the design and construction of both the LINC and the Red Hill had repeatedly told colleagues that lighting could not be installed because the Environmental Assessment that authorized construction of the highway had ruled it out. On the stand Monday afternoon was Brian Malone, a principal with the consulting firm CIMA. CIMA had been engaged to conduct a safety review of the highway following a resolution by Hamilton Council who were fielding citizen complaints and media coverage about the number of accidents that were occurring on the road.

Inquiry staff showed Malone a PowerPoint presentation that his firm had created early in its work showing a number of areas where there were safety issues identified, including the need for better lighting. After this preliminary report had been seen by Hamilton works staff, internal communications indicated that Moore was not happy with the report. Staff recommended Malone discuss the matter with Moore. In his testimony Malone said Moore explained to him that lighting was out of the question because of the Environmental Assessment. The final report from CIMA ended up not recommending lighting and most references to safety issues were downgraded and referred to as “possible improvements.”

On the issue of lighting, inquiry documents show repeated examples of Moore’s opposition. In a memo to colleagues he wrote, “there are constraints that preclude the erection of lighting on several ramps; it is not recommended in any way shape or form to erect lighting on partial basis and we can’t afford it… It was in that email that Moore discussed having CIMA change the report, writing, ”we shouldn’t be talking about potential improvements that will give any (litigation) claimants more ammunition… Did we get CIMA to finalize the report to our liking? Before they (Councillors) ask for a copy?

Gord McGuire, who took over as head of engineering from Moore, earlier told the inquiry he had wanted to revisit the issue of lighting the Red Hill. He testified that he had studied the EA and found there was no prohibition of lighting the highway, and that the RHCE was something of an outlier when it was compared  to similar roads in Ontario around the lighting issue; although it was acknowledged that to go back and install lights now would require an expensive EA, not to mention the cost of the lighting.

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