Rickford announces $4.9 million in road funding for Fort Frances, Dryden through Connecting Links program

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

Fort Frances will be receiving over $3.5 million to support two road reconstruction projects in town. Dryden will also receive funding for a big project.

The funding is being delivered through the Connecting Links program, which helps maintain vital roads and bridges that connect people to jobs, support the movement of goods, and drive economic growth in northern and rural communities.

This funding will help repair the following transit corridors:

$2,070,048 for the reconstruction of Third Street West from Central Avenue to York Avenue in Fort Frances

$1,632,194 for the reconstruction of Scott Street from Reid Avenue to Mosher Avenue in Fort Frances

In Dryden, $1,207,008 will go to the reconstruction of Highway 594 easterly from Gordon Road in Dryden

Greg Rickford is the MPP for Kenora – Rainy River and Minister of Northern Development.

“Our investment of nearly $5 million in the City of Dryden and the Town of Fort Frances demonstrates our commitment to reliable road infrastructure, keeping families across the Northwest safe,” Rickford said. “Northern municipal partners know that they can count on our government for supportive initiatives like the Connecting Links program to keep their communities safe and connected for generations to come.”

The funding has to be used on roads with particular designations.

A “connecting link” is a designated municipal road or bridge that connects two ends of a provincial highway through a community, or to an international border crossing. This year, the Ontario government is investing $30 million in 21 projects to repair roads and bridges in 19 municipalities across the province.

Fort Frances mayor Andrew Hallikas had praise for the program.

“The Town of Fort Frances is grateful to the Ford Government, Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria, and Minister Greg Rickford for providing over $1.6 million in funding to reconstruct part of Scott Street, and another $2 million to reconstruct Third St W between Central Avenue and York Avenue,” Hallikas said. “This Connecting Links funding will allow the Town of Fort Frances to proceed with much needed reconstruction of some our infrastructure and is indicative of the provincial government’s commitment to small rural Northern communities.”

In Dryden the work will be used on a section of highway connecting Dryden to highway 502 which is vital according to Dryden mayor Jack Harrison.

“On behalf of the City of Dryden, I wish to thank the Ministry of Transportation for the funding to reconstruct a portion of Hwy 594. This section is an important roadway, as it’s the final stretch connecting Dryden with the Rainy River District and the U.S.A.,” Harrison said. “In addition, I would like to thank Minister Rickford for his unwavering support for community projects such as this one.”

“Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government is investing a historic $27 billion over the next decade to build and repair roads, highways and bridges,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Minister of Transportation. “We will continue to support our municipal partners to ensure we build a better, stronger Ontario that leaves no community behind.”

Eligible costs for Connecting Links include the design, construction, renewal, rehabilitation and replacement of designated municipal roads and bridges. Municipalities are encouraged to apply for 2025–26 Connecting Links program funding when the intake opens later this year.

According to Interim CAO for the Town of Fort Frances Travis Rob, the Town has previously used funding from the Connecting Links program to support the design work necessary for the Scott and Third Street projects.

Rob says the projects should be underway this construction season provided they can get the tender out and accept a bid from a contractor to get the work started.