THUNDER BAY – A network of winter roads will make it easier and less costly for residents in the far north to travel and bring in supplies. Temporary roads over frozen ground and waterways will connect 31 northern First Nation communities to a permanent provincial highway or railway system.
“For communities in the far north of Ontario that are accessible only by air, winter roads are essential for lowering the costs of building material and heavy equipment so residents can renew infrastructure and develop community projects,” commented Michael Gravelle, the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry.
Through support from the Province, 30 First Nation organizations and the Town of Moosonee will build and operate the roads. Individuals and businesses use the roads from freeze up until spring thaw, usually in mid March.
While some people have become fans of “Ice Road Truckers” the fact in Northern Ontario are that there are thousands of miles of winter roads, all with their challenges and dangers.
For 2010-11, the Province is investing $4.5 million to help remote northern Ontario communities build winter roads.
Ontario’s winter roads total just over 3,000 kilometres, about the driving distance from Sioux Lookout to Whitehorse.
Since October 2003, the McGuinty government has invested a total of $26.2 million through the Winter Roads Program.