THUNDER BAY – Regional News – Getting around in Northern Ontario requires a lot of effort. Communities in more remote areas of Northern Ontario are not connected by all weather roads. In the winter, as the temperatures drop, the winter roads network throughout northern Ontario make it easier to get vital goods and health care services to remote First Nations communities.
With support from the provincial and federal governments, 28 First Nations organizations, and the Town of Moosonee have built and are operating a 3,187-kilometre network of temporary roads over frozen ground and waterways.
Each year, winter roads connect remote northern communities to a permanent provincial highway or railway system. Individuals and businesses use the roads from freeze-up until spring thaw, usually in mid March. Cold weather in December and January meant an early start to this year’s winter roads season.
For residents in Northern Communities, the Winter Roads allow trips out of the community and a respite from higher prices at many shops in their communities.
“This program is vital to improving transportation routes across northern Ontario and ensuring that remote communities continue to have full access to important services,” stated Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle.
- Ontario has invested more than $4.7 million to help remote northern Ontario communities build winter roads this season.
- Ontario’s 3,187-kilometre winter roads network is about the driving distance from Nipigon to Nanaimo. B.C.
- Since October 2003, the Ontario government has invested more than $45 million through the Winter Roads Program.