Farm equipment parade makes point about safety
Combines and cars can be a deadly combination.
Farmers in south London say the removal of an overpass that allows farm equipment to pass over Highway 401, will put people at risk.
The concern is where they'll have to go once the overpass is gone. Instead of using Glanworth Road to get over the 401, they'll be re-routed to a much busier Colonel Talbot Road.
To make a safety point, Bonduelle contractor Larry Reynolds brought out some of his heavy equipment, re-tracing the route they'll have to use throughout the harvest season.
“It gets really busy and before you know it, you've got a mile of traffic behind you,” Reynolds says.
Farm equipment will be forced onto Colonel Talbot Road if the Ministry of Transportation goes ahead with plans to get rid of the overpass.
Growers worry about large, slower moving farm equipment being forced onto the exchange.
"A lot of drivers today we find, understand what we're doing. They give us a friendly wave, give us our distance and are really nice,” says London grower Don Richards.
“But…we’re very concerned about the ones - and there's a lot of them - that don't have concerns. They're not patient. They don't understand, maybe, what we're doing there.”
Bonduelle Canada representative Jennifer Thompson says one problem with the MTO decision is that it was based on traffic counts from April to July of last year. But the growing season was delayed in 2014, so the harvest didn't pick up until August.
"We feel that that was not a fair assessment of how important this road is to us, because it is very important to our custom operators, for our truckers and for all of our growers transporting their equipment across these roads safely,” she says.
The MTO is promising traffic lights at either end of the Colonel Talbot overpass and they also say there will be wider lanes and a greater turn radius to accommodate farm equipment.
Growers still believe the safest option is to maintain the Glanworth overpass.