When it comes to complaints about government, most often the issues that resonate with citizens are those that affect them directly: taxes, security, health and safety. It was the latter that caught our attention in Mississauga and prompted Newstalk 1010 to dig for answers.
Newstalk 1010's Justine Lewkowicz was honoured with the Peel Regional Police 2013 Media Award for "Best Radio News feature" for her investigation into this unsafe intersection in Mississauga.
In April 2013, reporter Justine Lewkowicz was tipped off by a Mississauga firefighter about a dangerously busy intersection at Hurontario and the QEW. The source revealed that he and his crew were routinely called to accidents at this intersection. In fact, he went on the record to tell us they responded to accident calls at that intersection at least once a week.
It is from that tip that Justine began to investigate the claims and learned that the number of collisions at the Hurontario/QEW interchange were higher than at many others in the city of Mississauga. The number of crashes had spiked 53% in fact, after the Provincial Ministry of Transportation changed the design and added new sets of traffic lights in 2009.
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Justine interviewed Peel Regional Police, drivers, residents, and business owners in the area and learned that the problem was the 2009 addition of 3 sets of traffic lights in a 400 metre span, and a left turn lane from northbound Hurontario onto the QEW. Many of these newsmakers told Justine that they too, had complained to the province, but it wasn't until Justine took the story to Queen's Park and showcased it on the air and at www.Newstalk1010.com, that the ministry took action.
It was Justine's dogged investigative reporting that first alerted lawmakers to the magnitude of the problem, and it was her continuous follow-up questions throughout the year that ultimately forced the Liberal government to initiate its' own study in the spring of 2013. The results were revealed in November and changes to the intersection were announced.
Ministry of Transportation spokesman Astrid Poei says, in 2014 a "fully protected left turn phase" will be added to the northbound Hurontario ramp to the QEW and the middle lane of the westbound off ramp will be converted to a right turn lane only.