Soldiers along with provincial and municipal representatives came out to Hale and Trafalgar streets Friday (Nov. 4) for the completion of the Charley Fox Memorial Overpass.
“I would hope that each and every person who comes around this roundabout and yes, it makes it easier for them to travel, but it is the symbol that is more important than anything else,” said London Mayor Joe Fontana. “You will remember the hundreds of thousands of veterans who gave their lives, their family’s sacrifices. Why? So we can produce an incredible city, province and country like this.”
At the ceremony, a 35-foot structure created by the London Arts Council was unveiled at the centre of the overpass to symbolize the completion of the new road and remembrance of Canadian veterans.
Charley Fox was honoured for his many heroic accomplishments during his active service in the Second World War and for his postwar contributions before dying in a car accident in 2008.
“The structure itself is absolutely magnificent,” said Chris Bentley, London West MPP and Energy Minister of Ontario. “It provides a pathway for people to get from one part of the city to another and it is infinitely better than what we had before.”
Showing off the overpass wasn’t the only thing of change on the agenda for the ceremony. Part of Hale Street has been renamed Trooper Wilson Place in memory of Mark Wilson, who died in Afghanistan in 2006.
“We can not begin to thank enough people for the tributes that have been given to our son Mark,” said Carl Wilson, father of Mark. “I’m sure today our son is watching and saying, ‘What a great day to be a Dragoon (Mark’s military regiment).’”
The new overpass is London’s first arterial road roundabout and plans to eliminate issues in the area by elevating vehicle and pedestrian traffic above CN Rail lines.
The design of the overpass has already been recognized for its innovation. The Consulting Engineers of Ontario gave the roundabout an Award of Merit in their transportation category and the road was also recognized at the 2011 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards in Ottawa.
The federal and provincial government picked up one third of the total project cost at $3,816,667. The city and the Canadian National Railway picked up the remainder of the tab splitting $11,450,000.