Canada Cut in Two in Northern Ontario

Highway 17 Remains Closed Near Ignace
Highway 17 Remains Closed Near Ignace - Image Facebook

THUNDER BAY – ANALYSIS – Over the past winters, the number of times Highway 17 and Highway 11 have been closed due to either weather conditions or collisions is increasing.

There have been several fatalities on the highways this winter.

Road conditions are usually the factor. Sometimes it is driver inexperience with winter weather driving conditions.

The causes also include climate change as well as other human factors including road maintenance standards, the lack of a twinned highway, and the elephant in the room; the level of training for transport truck drivers.

Perhaps there needs to be a new standard from winter driving conditions for transport truck drivers?

Climate change will have a major impact on Northern Ontario.

Already this winter, the Northern Winter Roads Network is behind schedule. That will impact construction projects, as well as putting inflationary pressures on already high grocery prices.

Climate change will mean more storms, and warmer weather will see more freezing rain or freezing drizzle.

Closures on Highways 11 and 17 in effect cut Canada in half.

When weather conditions shut down vital infrastructure, the simple economic cost is massive.

As an example, a transport truck with fresh produce stopped for 12 hours can see the shelf life at the grocery store reduced. Prices for fresh fruits and vegetables are impacted.

The insurance costs alone are mounting up.

Prices are already high. No one wants higher prices.

The Ontario Government has implemented a new standard for clearing highways. So far this winter, weather appears to frequently be beating that standard leaving roads in less than Trans Canada standard.

A real solution will be expensive. That will be a completely twinned divided highway across all of Canada.

James Murray


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