This was enormous, and a long time in the process!
Major stakeholders involved in the Canadian Motor Speedway Traffic Management Plan, or the TMP as we call it for short, have given CMS their support and final input on the implementation of what Executive Director Azhar Mohammad calls an “unprecedented document”.
And that’s exactly what it is.
The goal of the meeting in St.Catharines this week at The 4-Points Sheraton Hotel, where they make excellent sandwiches, was to get closer to the end of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO ) final process to approve the CMS TMP with a final review and consensus by those organizations and bodies who will have a hand in the traffic management process for major CMS events.
The list of those in the meeting was very impressive. These are the key decision- makers who will ultimately make sure the fan experience, coming from both sides of the border to CMS is a pleasant and safe one. People like The Ministry of Transportation of The Province of Ontario, The Niagara Region, The Town of Fort Erie, The Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition, Canada Border Services Agency, Department of Homeland Security, and of course The Ontario Provincial Police, The Niagara Regional Police Service, and Niagara Emergency Medical Services.
The meeting was really one of the final steps after years of in-depth painstaking discussions with specific agencies responsible for traffic, transit, emergency services, border crossings and the QEW corridor which will service the facility.They also looked at similar, existing speedways to examine how they get fans in and out of their parks.
All of these organizations will have a role to play at various levels for CMS events, particularly when attendance exceeds 15 thousand fun-loving fans.
All stakeholders have shown tremendous support of the CMS development since initial discussions and the generation of the Traffic Management Plan, and the St.Catharines meeting sustained that good vibe.
There are small minour refinements to be made to certain aspects of the TMP based on input from the stakeholders at the meeting. Once everyone signs off on their respective duties, CMS will issue the final TMP, part of the over-all site plan, and present it to The Town of Fort Erie for approval to obtain the permits required to get equipment back on site to resume work this summer.
We can also tell you The MTO is just about ready to start refurbishment of the Bowen Road interchange, the result of a long and highly detailed collaboration between CMS and The Ministry.
Meanwhile, where the ¾ mile oval track on the site will actually sit has been finalized, while Jeff Gordon continues to work with CMS architects on design tweaks.
Barring any approval delays, the forecast is for a 2018 opening of what will be Canada’s largest auto racing facility, and Canada’s largest sports arena.
T’aint easy planning something like this, but good things of size are rarely easy.
But the thumbs-up on the CMS Traffic Management Plan moves the football even closer to the goal line!