Ontario Ministry of Transportation Update on Northern Ontario Highways

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Transport Truck Accident Highway 17 Near Highway 102 - Nov 12 2021 - Facebook
Transport Truck Accident Highway 17 Near Highway 102 - Nov 12 2021 - Facebook

Thunder Bay – NEWS – Over the course of the winter, Highway 17 and Highway 11 have been closed a number of times due to weather. There have also been a number of fatalities on the highways in the region since the first snowfall.

The OPP told NetNewsLedger back in September, “There have been a total of 279 collisions involving Tractor Trailer Units in the North West Region to date. Six of them have been fatal collisions. There has also been two collisions involving personal injury”.

Over the course of the winter there have been a number of collisions causing deaths.

NetNewsLedger asked the Ministry of Transportation: What is the set protocol for the clearing of snow on Highways in Northern Ontario?

The MTO states that the protocol for clearing of snow on highways in Ontario are as follows:

  • Maintenance vehicles are deployed within 30 minutes of the start of a storm to spread sand/salt
  • Contractors are required to plow highways when there is an accumulation of two centimetres of snow or slush on the highway
  • After a storm, the province requires that snow is cleared from highways and that bare pavement is achieved according to our bare pavement standard 90 per cent of the time

The standard for bare pavement depends on highway type, and the results for bare pavement achievement varies depending on the type of winter. For example, most of stretches of Highways 11/17 are considered major highways for which bare pavement must be achieved within 16 hours of the end of a winter storm.

In the 2020-21 year, the province met the bare pavement standard across all highway types 98 per cent of the time.

MTO’s provincial performance target is to meet the bare pavement standard 90 per cent of the time. Results are annually reported to public. The chart below shows the Provincial Achievement for each winter season for the last 10 years.

Sgt Mike Golding with the OPP states, “We see a lot of negative comments on social media directed towards transport drivers. It is important to acknowledge that many of these companies are run professionally and hold their drivers accountable and to a very high standard. The motoring public need to understand that these transports are crucial to our infrastructure and the transportation of goods across Canada. They are governed in Ontario to 105 kph and should be travelling in the right lane on a double lane highway.”

“If you come across a driver who is not obeying the law….call the police. Do not tailgate the driver, flash your lights, pass out of frustration or cut them off. The last thing we want you to do is create a road rage situation with a transport truck”.

“Sharing the roadway, maintaining a safe distance (not in their blindspots) and lowering your speed will certainly decrease your odds of a negative encounter with one of these commercial motor vehicles.”

Winter Season Performance Target (%) Provincial Achievement (%)
2020-2021 90 98
2019-2020 90 97
2018-2019 90 96
2017-2018 90 96
2016-2017 90 97
2015-2016 90 97
2014-2015 90 92
2013-2014 90 92
2012-2013 90 95
2011-2012 90 96

Winter Highway Data (gov.on.ca)