Work to illuminate a stretch of Chippewa Road in Thunder Bay, Ont., is expected to get under way this year and the chief of neighbouring Fort William First Nation says it will mean a lot for safety in the area.
According to city officials, the 2018 municipal budget includes about $300,000 for the installation of modern LED street lights along Chippewa Road between Mountain Road and James Street. That stretch has virtually no lighting, Fort William Chief Peter Collins said, making some trips dangerous.
"It's dark there, it's bad," Collins said. "There are some nights if somebody's walking, you don't see them until the last second."
Chippewa Road has seen an increase in vehicle traffic since a fire on the James Street swing bridge over the Kaministiquia River in 2013. The CN-owned structure remains closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic; it is also at the centre of a protracted legal battle between the railway and the City of Thunder Bay.
With Chippewa Road serving as the only route between Thunder Bay and the First Nation, Collins said it's important the road be as safe as possible.
"It's just not about the safety of our residents ... [but] the safety of everyone that's driving," Collins said. "It's really bad there sometimes on that stretch."
The project has been in the works for a couple of years now, according to Matthew Miedema, a project engineer with the city, and was given the go-ahead for 2018 when city council passed the municipal budget.
No specific timeline for the work has been set, Miedema said, but it will happen during the 2018 construction season — between May and October.
"We're currently working with Thunder Bay Hydro to install some new poles as necessary," he said.
The lights that will be installed will be the newer-style LED lights that have been installed in many residential city neighbourhoods, Miedema said.