Committee approves environmental assessment to transform the east end

Today, after years of neglect the City of Ottawa Transportation Committee approved the environmental assessment for the widening of HWY 174 through Cumberland; which delivers on Cumberland Councillor Stephen Blais’ vision for Cumberland.

“The 174 is a vital artery for tens of thousands of motorists every day and the two lane undivided rural cross section no longer meets the needs of our region’s growing population,” says Blais. “I’m proud to deliver on this important promise that will transform the region for generations to come.”

In 2007, the federal and provincial governments each offered $40 million to the City of Ottawa to improve Highway174 by widening it to four lanes from Orléans to Rockland. City Council rejected this funding partnership proposal, which delayed the project unnecessarily.

When Stephen Blais was elected in 2010 he took immediate action to work with provincial and municipal partners to secure $5 million to conduct the environmental assessment necessary to begin the process for this much needed improvement.

In addition to improving the safety of the roadway, by providing additional high occupancy and/or transit lanes, this project will reduce congestion and provide greater opportunities to maximize the investment the City, Province and Federal government are making in light rail and hope to make in the Stage 2 extension to Place d’Orléans or Trim Road.

“Bumper to bumper congestion on rural 174 makes it impossible for our neighbouring municipalities to offer fast, reliable, efficient and affordable public transit. This leads to even greater congestion downstream for Orléans residents and in fact all residents of Ottawa,” adds Blais. “By building a new dedicated carpool / transit lane we can improve transit options, reduce the cost of offering transit and bring thousands of customers to the new LRT stations at Place d’Orléans or Trim Road.”

The project will also provide for a proper interchange at Trim Road which has been needed for many years.

“It’s time we have a proper interchange at Trim Road,” adds Blais. “We can help reduce commute times and provide a safer option for pedestrians to access Petrie Island.”

Furthermore, the benefits of this project to Cumberland Village are apparent. While construction will be complicated and inconvenient the possibilities for the village are endless. Reduced vehicle speeds, better pedestrian access to the riverfront and multiuse pathways will offer endless possibilities for the development of a vibrant village core and connect the village to the growing Orléans community and Petrie Island.

“The residents of Cumberland have been clear on their vision for a better connected, tranquil and recreation friendly core to the village,” adds Blais. “The 174 project allows the possibility to make these significant investments in the village to improve the quality of life for Cumberland residents.” Cost estimates for the various segments of HWY 174 expansion.