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Second Red Hill safety report recommended friction testing, unaware that testing had already been done

Second Red Hill safety report recommended friction testing, unaware that testing had already been done

The Red Hill Inquiry turned its attention to a second Red Hill Safety report done in 2015 by the consultant CIMA. Once again recommendations involving some of the possible safety measures were de-emphasized. The consultant had conducted a safety report in 2013 on direction from councillors who were getting complaints about safety from the public. The report went through several iterations over a ten-month period, and by the time it got to council it had been modified to the point where most references to unsafe conditions were expunged.  

By 2015 in the wake of a number of fatal accidents, council again directed a second safety review. This time staff were specifically directed to revisit lighting parts of the highway and also to take a close look at installing a median barrier to prevent the number of incidents where vehicles would skid off the highway and cross over to the opposite lane. CIMA were commissioned to do the work, as they had done in 2013.

The report again underwent revisions and was submitted to Gary Moore, who was responsible for the construction of the Red Hill and LINC, for comment. He warned that installing guard rails would result in more collisions, and more damage to vehicles since a number of the vehicles that skidded into the opposite lane would recover control and get back in their proper lane without a crash. On the question of lighting, Moore was adamant that it was not possible, because it had been ruled out during the Environmental Assessment process because of the potential of “light pollution,” Ultimately the report that got to council identified installing guiderails in the median and lighting along the entire highway as “long-term” measures, meaning the work would be six years or more away.

The CIMA report recommended friction testing be conducted, apparently not realizing that such testing had already been done by MTO and by Tradewinds. It was only when staff presented the report to council that Gary Moore, in answer to a question from a councillor revealed that friction testing had been done and that the results were satisfactory. This was news to David Ferguson of the city Traffic Department testifying Monday, who had been working with CIMA on their report which recommended such testing as a short-term recommendation.

The report to council said that Lighting and the median barriers were put on the Long-term list to allow time for a Transportation Master Plan to be completed. Under questioning from Inquiry counsel Emily Lawrence, Mr. Ferguson said he could see not see how the transportation master plan would have any bearing on the guardrail and lighting issues.

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