Anne Jarvis: New parkway one heck of a road

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Windsor Star/Anne Jarvis

It’s not just that it shifts trucks off Windsor’s streets and moves them seamlessly, almost invisibly and noiselessly, through the city.

It’s all the other things — like the “eco passage” atop one of the tunnels, the images of local tall grass prairie embossed in the concrete, themed pedestrian bridges representing the culture of local aboriginal people, the green terraced retaining wall on one of the ramps — that make the new, 11-kilometre Herb Gray Parkway one heck of a road.

“There’s no doubt it’s the most exciting piece of roadway in the province,” Garfield Dales, director of the Windsor Border Initiatives Implementation Group, said during a tour Thursday. “It’s just a phenomenal piece of infrastructure. This will really be a showpiece for the community.”

As Toronto grapples with what to do with its infamous Gardiner Expressway, former Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Dwight Duncan told Mayor John Tory recently, “You might want to have a look at the road in Windsor.”

This is what that epic and bitter battle that lasted a decade won. And the credit belongs to Windsor.

“I think it’s a testament to the people of the City of Windsor,” said former mayor Eddie Francis, who led most of the fight for a proper route to the border. “This project was only possible because the people came together and said it’s an opportunity to do something better, an opportunity to build something more than just a road. This road belongs to the people of the City of Windsor because everyone stood up and said, yes, we have a stake in this.

“It was long and drawn out,” he said, “but as everyone now knows, it was probably worth it.”

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