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NDP Wants Improved Winter Highway Maintenance

By Tim Davidson Jan 10, 2023 | 9:45 AM

The NDP is using the pre-budget consultations to push to improved winter highway maintenance in the north.

The NDP has put forward a private members bill to put Highways 11 and 17 in the same class as the 400 series of highways in southern Ontario.

Back in November the Ministry of Transportation reduced the time to fully clear highways 11 and 17 of snow down to 12 hours.

Finance Critic Catherine Fife says they would like the highways cleared within 8 hours following a snow storm.

“Trying to get this government to understand that having equal standards for southern highways and northern highways is an issue that should have priority status,” Fife stressed during a break in pre-budget hearings in Kenora on Monday.

“People who live in the north don’t have other options.  They don’t have subways, they don’t have inter-regional transportation.  So driving is the key way of transportation.”

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa says already seven people have been killed on those roads in the last two months and there have been several road closures.

“You know since fall, we have had so many closures and it’s because we wait until the snow has fallen.  We need to be able to have a measured approach to having the snow cleared very quickly.  The pre-budget consultations is a opportunity to have those discussions.”

Tom Ratz from Resolute Forest Products says clearing the snow faster would mean trucks aren’t packing the snow down, reducing the need for more salt and sand.


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