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Liberals seek improved road maintenance standards

By Randy Thoms Apr 10, 2024 | 3:05 AM

Ontario’s Liberals are calling for improvements to highways in northern Ontario.

Transportation Critic Andrea Hazel is introducing a private member’s bill that proposes new road maintenance standards for Highways 11, 17 and 69.

It backs previous calls by municipalities and the opposition.

Hazel says part of a private member’s bill includes that maintenance levels be similar to those in southern Ontario.

“It will amp up the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation to fix the potholes and clear snow and ice with similar standards to provincial highways in the south and municipal class one highways,” says Hazel.

Under the proposed bill, the highways would have to be cleared of snow in the winter within four hours.

Icy roads would have to be dealt with within three hours.

The Ford government changed winter maintenance standards two years ago, requiring Highways 11 and 17 to be cleared to bare pavement within 12 hours after the end of a winter storm.

The proposed bill would also require maintenance crews to deal with potholes at least eight centimetres deep to be repaired within four days.

Hazel says the importance of the highways to the north was explained several times during pre-budget hearings.

She says it is why the Liberals also support the roadways twinning.

“It will save lives. It will bolster the northern economy. It needs to be done, and it needs to get done. If the government wouldn’t move forward on a future Ontario liberal government will.”

Hazel’s proposed bill was introduced in the legislature on Tuesday.