The man leading a group with concerns about highway maintenance in northwestern Ontario is criticizing the road plowing standards imposed by the Ministry of Transportation.

Steve Smith said the rule stating most sections of the Trans Canada need plowing a little over every two hours isn't good enough.

Steve Smith

Ear Falls resident Steve Smith is leading a protest this Saturday at 10 a.m. in Vermilion Bay, at the corner of Highway 105 and Highway 17. (Supplied)

"I don't know what they used to do, but it used to work,” the Ear Falls resident said.

“They used to throw down sand on, behind the plows, at least. So … when there was that skiff of snow on the highway, there was sand underneath of it, and you had some traction."

Smith said he thinks contractors hired by the MTO are meeting their obligations for maintenance, but he feels the ministry should raise the standards.

"The companies maintaining the roads are well within their boundaries, and that's the issue … the boundaries are set so low that it's not good enough for the people in the northwest."

snowy highway accident in northwestern ontario

Ear Falls resident Steve Smith sees plenty of accidents like these when he travels northwestern Ontario highways. He says he wants the Ministry of Transportation to raise its plowing standards. (Supplied)

Protest planned

After the storm this week major highways should now be clear of snow, the MTO said.

Most of the Trans Canada is designated Class 1 or Class 2, and contractors have set time limits for getting all the snow off the road.

“For Class 1, bare pavement is to be achieved within eight hours after a storm ends,” said Anne Marie Piscopo, MTO spokesperson.

“And with Class 2 bare pavement is [to be achieved] within 16 hours after a storm ends."

The only stretch of Class 1 road in Thunder Bay is Hwy 11-17 and part of Hwy 61.

Smith suggests that more sand and salt be applied after the highway is plowed.

He's leading a protest this Saturday at 10 a.m. in Vermilion Bay, at the corner of Highway 105 and Highway 17.