There is no doubt that the blizzard just before Christmas caused complete chaos across southern Ontario’s transportation system. The cable barrier between London and Tilbury Ontario has likely been damaged at many locations similar to what is seen here in a photo submitted to Twitter by the Dutton-Dunwich Fire Department of a multi-vehicle collision between Currie and Iona Roads on December 23, 2022.

The blizzard that came through southern Ontario on December 23, 2022 tested the resources of all official personnel. Numerous collisions occurred throughout the region and roads had to be closed, including Highways 401 and 402.

Now, as some sense of normalcy is returning, the issues of clean-up and repairs come into focus. For example there have been many collisions described in the news media and many were mentioned along Highway 401. Presumably the median cable barrier that runs between Tilbury and London has been damaged at many locations.

During storm events the cable barrier becomes damaged and, to function properly, it must be repaired. When it is not repaired there is a likelihood that a subsequent collision might occur where a vehicle strikes the previously-damaged barrier. Not only does this make the barrier less effective but in some instances the damaged barrier can be more dangerous than if no barrier existed at all. So repair of the barrier needs to be done as quickly as possible.

In an article posted to the Gorski Consulting website on September 5, 2022 (“Highway 401 Damaged Cable Barrier – Continued, Unadvertised Safety Problem”) we described how drives along Highway 401 on May 7 and September 2, 2022 demonstrated several areas where the cable barrier was damaged and unrepaired. In the September 5, 2022 article we made the following observation:

“In summary impact damage to the cable barrier on Highway 401 caused the barrier cables to be loose for a distance of 2.1 kilometres west of Furnival Road. Two additional impacts to the cable barrier between Dunborough Road and Coyne Road meant that an additional 3.6 kilometres of cable was left loose. Thus a total of 5.7 kilometres of cable were observed to be loose in the 68 kilometre distance between Colonel Talbot Road and Victoria Road. Stated differently, 8.4 percent of the total cable length was observed to be in a state of disrepair.”

Cable barrier damage shown in this photo was discussed in the Gorski Consulting article of September 5, 2022. No one is monitoring the damage and when it becomes repaired.

What is the present status of the cable barrier? How many impacts have occurred and what length of the barrier remains damaged? There should be an answer to this question that is publicly visible. Yet neither Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, nor the OPP, and not even the various news-reporting organizations have provided that answer. It must rely on private individuals to drive along Highway 401 and make observations. And even then there is no way of disseminating that information to the wider public domain.

Whatever damage has been done, how long will it be before that damage is repaired? Will it be springtime? Thousands of users of Highway 401 are placed in danger when these repairs are delayed.

While there is considerable propaganda using the Vision Zero motif, and claims that we will reach zero transportation deaths in the not-too-distant future, it remains nothing more than propaganda when those words are not followed up by concrete action.