Shuniah Mayor Wendy Landry is urging the province to keep its foot on the gas when it comes to the four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway between Thunder Bay and Nipigon.
“We’re hoping to see a reduction in the number of accidents or head-on collisions,” Landry said Thursday.
“I continue to support the widening of the (Highway 11-17) highway,” added Landry.
The Ministry of Transportation announced this week that a $75-million upgrade to four lanes between Ouimet and the Dorion East Loop intersection — a distance of nine kilometres — has been completed and is open to traffic.
That project, the seventh stage of the ongoing effort to make the entire 100-km stretch four lanes, included the twinning of CP Rail overhead bridges located at Ouimet. The cost was evenly spit between the federal and provincial governments.
Currently, Highway 11-17 is four lanes through Shuniah for about 30 kilometres until motorists reach the community of Pass Lake. Another long four-lane stretch that’s to continue through Shuniah until travellers reach just west of Dorion remains under construction.
The province has also funded a new $30-million truck inspection section, which is also located in Shuniah on the north side of the highway. Ministry officials expect the station to be in operation sometime this fall.
Landry, who is also president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association, said she also supports the so-called 2+1 concept to relieve congestion on Northern Ontario highways, similar to what was approved last fall on a pilot basis for a section of Highway 11 north of North Bay.
According to a ministry backgrounder, a 2+1 highway is a three-lane route with a centre passing lane that changes direction every two to five kilometres.
“The model is used in other jurisdictions around the world and is more cost efficient than twinning a highway,” the backgrounder said.
Meanwhile on Thursday, provincial police reminded motorists to drive with caution in the wake of the nearly 240 deaths recorded on OPP-patrolled highways so far this year, including Highway 11-17.
“Close to 50 per cent of this year’s road fatalities were attributed to drivers who were speeding, inattentive, alcohol/drug-impaired or not wearing a seatbelt,” a provincial news release said.