By Richard Bell
The Cooperator has received a number of inquiries about the purpose of the extensive tree and brush clearing taking place on the 107 between exits 17 and 18. The clearings are much wider than previous clearings, and some people questioned whether the wide clearings might be preparation for twinning the 107.
According to an email from Brian Taylor, Communications Director for the Department of Transportation and Active Transit, the clearing is part of a larger effort to improve road safety, including the creation of a tunnel under the 107 between exists 17 and 18 to allow animals like deer to cross the highway without endangering motorists. Here is Taylor’s email:
“Road safety is the department’s top priority. Three years ago, Government invested $2M to enhance our highway safety and maintenance program. This includes being able to clear more brush along our 100 series highways to help improve visibility for drivers. This has taken place across the province for the past three summers. This year, we are able to clear the entire right of way along the area you referenced to improve sightlines considerably and make any wildlife much more visible to drivers. Contractors are responsible to cut trees and remove debris as part of the work.
“Government is investing in safety measures throughout the highway network and one of the projects is the installation of wildlife fencing and a wildlife underpass on Hwy 107 between exits 17 and 18. This will allow wildlife, mostly deer in this area, to safely move back and forth without the risk of collisions with motor vehicles.”
Canadian Forest Resources Ltd. is doing the brush clearing, using its heavy-duty, purpose-built “mulchers.” Salvageable trees are going to Elmsdale Lumber and Ledgewood Lumber.