Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Pre-election re-announcement of Highway 11 widening isn’t news, Truckers say

Map source: Ontario

The Ontario government has awarded a contract to widen Highway 11/17 from two to four lanes between Thunder Bay and Nipigon. The project also includes building two new bridges over Pearl River.

“Awarding this contract for this critical stretch of Highway 11/17 is an exciting milestone that will get shovels in the ground this year,” Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation said on April 9th. “Under the leadership of Premier Ford, we’re building highways, roads and bridges across Northern Ontario that will support the safe movement of people and goods, create jobs and promote long-term economic growth.”

Travis McDougall of Truckers for Safer Highways notes that the fact that that section of the highway is under construction is not news to anyone who drives in the north: “Instead of announcing projects that have already been started, we would like to see a reasonable focus on industry safety improvements rather than watching the statistics of collisions grow while doing nothing.”

Teranorth Construction and Engineering will begin twinning the highway in the fall of this year with an expected completion date by 2026. The contract, valued at $107 million, includes $77 million in provincial funding and $30 million in federal funding. The project will create or sustain approximately 750 direct or indirect construction jobs and includes:

  • Twinning 14.4 kilometres of Highway 11/17 starting east of Highway 587 easterly towards Nipigon
  • Two new bridges over Pearl River (one eastbound and one westbound)
  • New alignment of Highway 11/17 south of the existing highway at Pearl River
  • Realignment of municipal road connections at West Loon Road/Mirror Lake Road, East Loon Road, Silver Lake Road and Road No. 5 South
  • Two new concrete culverts at Oyster Creek
  • Drainage improvements
  • New lighting at new municipal road intersections and four to two lane transitions

For the 2021-22 fiscal year, Ontario has committed more than $641 million towards the repair or expansion of highways and bridges in Northern Ontario.

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.