Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Ontario Completes Widening of Highway 11/17 in Thunder Bay District

Province opens two new lanes from Ouimet to Dorion

The Ontario government has completed the widening of Highway 11/17 from two to four lanes between Ouimet and Dorion East Loop in Thunder Bay District. This is the seventh section of a larger project to widen 100 kilometres of Highway 11/17 between Thunder Bay and Nipigon.

“It’s a spot where twinning needed to happen,” says Travis McDougall of Truckers for Safer Highways. “It’s part of the busiest section up here; all the traffic from both Highway 11 and Highway 17 gets funnelled into those lanes at that stretch.

“It will make a marginal difference right now until the rest of the highway gets twinned, but it’s step in the right direction, and it’s good to see Ontario working on the rest,” he notes.

“We are looking forward to seeing the twinning complete from Thunder Bay to Nipigon. They have a ways to go to get all of that done. It’s good to see work getting done.”

Highway 11/17 is a strategic link in the Trans-Canada Highway system. There is no alternate route when there are collisions or road closures. It is the only Highway known to have inspired its own Facebook page “Highway 11/17 Kills People,” at which professional Truckers and others who rely on the highway post photos and details of accidents including fatal accidents.

August 19, 2023 photo by Dawn Moore posted to the Facebook page”Highway 11/17 Kills People.”

“This project is part of our government’s plan to improve transportation in Ontario,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “The work completed so far and the eventual widening of Highway 11/17 to Nipigon will play an important role in addressing the unique transportation needs of the North, enhancing traffic flow and improving safety for individuals and businesses alike on our roads.”

In Winter 2023, several Ontario Members of Parliament sponsored press conferences to call upon the Ontario government to focus on improving northern highways. One accident killed a snowplow driver, while another saw a truck leave the highway and collide with two houses.

“I have a big stretch of highway 11 and 17 run through my riding,” NDP MPP John Vanthof (Timiskaming–Cochrane) notes. “Everyone who lives in my riding has had a white knuckle story about being passed on a hill or being pushed off the road.”

“Our government recognizes the significance of Highway 11/17 to our highway network and to the Thunder Bay area,” said Kevin Holland, MPP for Thunder Bay—Atikokan.

Periodic, short-term lane closures between Ouimet and Dorion East Loop in Thunder Bay District will continue until the end of September to allow for minor work and cleanup to be completed. Travellers can visit Ontario 511 for updates on work and traffic impacts, Ontario advises.