A private member's bill by NDP MPP Guy Bourgouin aims to improve maintenance standards and make winter driving safer on Northern Ontario’s main highways, 11 and 17.
The bill will be debated in second reading today.
Read the bill here.
“Too many Northern Ontarians have lost their lives, or suffered life-altering injuries driving on poorly-maintained routes in the winter,” Bourgouin said. “With this bill, we can save lives in northern Ontario by making our highways safer for drivers.
“Northern drivers and families have waited long enough. They deserve nothing less than to know that their roads are safe during the long winter months.”
MPP Bourgouin’s bill, Making Northern Ontario Highways Safer, 2019, will ensure that highways 11 and 17 are maintained with the province’s strictest requirements for snow removal. By classifying the northern highways the same as all 400 series highways and the QEW, snow must be removed within eight hours of the end of a snowfall.
Bourgouin’s bill would bump up highways 11 and 17 to Class 1 in all of their sections, whether two or four-lane, and eliminate vehicular traffic specification.
See: How Ontario's highways are cleared in winter
Mark Andrews, former OPP North East Region Traffic and Marine Unit Commander, said northern Ontario’s main routes need to be properly maintained to keep northern communities and the country connected.
“Highways 17 and 11 are the main link by highway for people and commerce. It is hard to believe that that simple fact was not taken into consideration when decisions were made,” said Andrews. “I have seen, first hand, the results of people’s mistakes while driving, the results are deadly. Families and communities shattered, businesses put in jeopardy because the supply chain has been cut. To change the winter maintenance classification of the Trans Canada Highway, regardless of traffic volumes is a very positive step.