A Sudbury city councillor is hoping to convince the province’s Minister of Transportation to put up traffic lights on Highway 17.
Specifically, Jacques Barbeau wants temporary signals at the intersection where mining trucks from the recently re-opened Totten Mine come out on the highway. The province is planning to put a new interchange in the area, but Barbeau wants to make sure roadway is safe until then.
He said he plans to raise that and other highway issues in a meeting with the minister this weekend.
"It's a short meeting,” he said. “You're entitled to whole 15 minutes with the minister, so you have to have your ducks in order and be ready to present your case."
Barbeau also wants to ask the minister to ensure that cities get funding for the roads that are downloaded to them after the province puts in highway bypasses.
Addressing 'safety issue'
Meanwhile, those who live near the Totten Mine intersection are wondering how the new stretch of road will change their rural community.
Neighbour Rob Weatherby said he hears different views on the new highway interchange.
"It ranges from apathy for those who aren't affected to anger for those who are,” he said.
The province wants to put in a new interchange for Highway 17 and Municipal Road 55, as well as a new stretch of highway that will run right through where the Den Lou playground is today.
Nearby resident Mike Rocha said he’s worried the new highway will be too close to people's houses — meaning they'll hear more mining trucks than they do now.
"I mean it's change right? Nobody really wants change,” he said. “But I think most people agree that we need to address the safety issue that's at the interchange. There have been a lot of fatalities there."
That intersection has no traffic lights or on-ramps, which needs to be corrected, said Barbeau.
"It's been a mistake since it was put in place. Never should have been designed that way."
He said even though this project is further along than others, construction is still several years away.
The province has planned about a half-dozen bypasses around northeastern Ontario in recent years, with each study costing about $2 million.