Highways Fatalities on Northern Roads

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A Tow Truck is on scene on Highway 11 17
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Thunder Bay – NEWS – Travel on Canada’s Trans-Canada Highway can be dangerous.

Some of the stretches of the road have larger than usual numbers of accidents and fatalities. Through Northwestern Ontario, Highway 11-17 is the Trans-Canada Highway.

This vital transportation link when traffic is halted due to accidents or weather conditions in winter in effects cuts Canada in half.

The number of accidents involving transport trucks over the summer on highways in our region continue to climb.

Following the Labour Day weekend, there were a total of 180 fatalities across Ontario on OPP-patrolled roads.

Heading into winter, the number of road conditions related accidents are likely to climb.

Statistically, in the Northwestern Health Unit catchment area, June and July, during tourist season saw the greatest number of highway traffic fatalities.

The Trans-Canada Highway, Highways 11/17 through Ontario are vital road links that connect all of Canada. Yet, winter after winter we see those major highways shut for hours due to accidents.

Many times it is the transport trucks that are involved. Drivers of those massive units are a key component in delivery of food and other vital needs.

Winter road conditions are a factor for the possibility of the transport of nuclear waste in our region. Vince Ponka says, “In terms of winter weather, part of the planning process includes deciding whether we would ship only for nine months a year and not have vehicles on the road in the winter months.”

Steps we take to ensure safety includes:

  • A transportation container that is engineered to withstand extreme accident scenarios without releasing its contents to protect people and the environment;
  • Adhering to strict regulatory requirements that are set by international standards and enforced by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Transport Canada;
  • Continuous monitoring of the shipment by the NWMO’s transportation command centre;
  • Security escort;
  • The development of security and emergency response plans.

Residents have repeatedly expressed great concern over the maintenance and snow clearing of roads in our region, what we have seen is parts of the road network twinned, and in many areas passing lanes added.

As we head into fall and toward winter, we are going to see more accidents, and more road closures.

Literally since the 1960s, across the region from successive governments there have been promises to twin this vital road link.

There have been lots of improvements, sections of the highway between the Ontario / Manitoba boundary to Nipigon and eastward have been twinned. There are more passing lanes along this key transportation link.

However no plan has ever been presented to set up a twinning project.

Perhaps what is needed is for the federal government to designate the Trans-Canada Highway as a national transportation link and set national standards for how the highway operates and is maintained.