THUNDER BAY – OP-ED – Once again, Canada is cut into two parts. A collision east of Kenora and poor road conditions on Highway 17 have Canada’s national highway closed.
This means people and goods are stuck on one side of the country or the other, and nothing will move.
Today, the Ontario Provincial Police advise that the closure at Vermilion Bay will likely be for most of the day.
Literally hundreds of trucks will be stuck in traffic for hours.
It is a national disgrace that Canada’s national, Trans-Canada Highway has its weakest link in Northern Ontario.
It is almost as if in parts of Canada our forgotten region of our country fades from importance. Yet every time on our mostly two-way traffic route there is snow or a collision, Canada becomes a divided land.
Simply put the solution has been talked about, promised, and delivered in small portions over the past fifty years.
The solution is a twinned highway. Ideally the highway should be twinned like it is in Manitoba with two separate routes, and connections between them so that if there is a collision on a section that a traffic detour could be available.
Right now, with the highway closed at Vermilion Bay, there is no alternative.
Well, perhaps someone could decide to leave Thunder Bay and head into the United States, either at Pigeon River or International Falls. Right now that would be a major inconvenience and under COVID-19 restrictions could be impossible.
While Ontario has announced work has started on the highway between Kenora and the Manitoba border, with trees coming down.
The Trans-Canada Highway should be a completely twinned highway from east to west in Canada. The sheer volume of goods that are transported along the highway, along with the number of accidents in our region alone should be impetus enough for the federal government and the provincial government to make this a national priority.