New private member's bill aims to improve winter road maintenance in the north
Shoddy winter road maintenance a sore spot for drivers in northern Ontario
Mushkegowuk-James Bay NDP MPP Guy Bourgouin held a press conference at Queen's Park Wednesday morning to discuss his private member's bill to improve winter road maintenance on northern Ontario Highways 11 and 17.
Bourguoin said that Bill 125 Making Northern Ontario Highways Safer, 2019 is nothing but common sense.
"Too many northern Ontarians have lost their lives and suffered life-altering injuries driving on poorly maintained routes in the winter," said Bourguoin.
He added that for drivers with motor vehicles registered in the Temiskaming region, chances of a collision are almost four times higher than in the Toronto area.
Bourguoin said things have gone from bad to worse since the provincial Liberal government privatized winter maintenance and enforced performance-based area maintenance contracts in 2009.
Bourguoin says his bill can reduce the number of winter road closures in the region, lower the risk of fatal collisions and save lives by amending the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act 1990.
The bill will ensure that Highways 11 and 17 are classified the same as all 400 series highways and the QEW. Snow must be removed within eight hours of the end of a snowfall.
Bourgouin's bill would bump up Highways 11 and 17 to Class 1 in all of their sections, whether two- or four-lane, and eliminate vehicular traffic specification.
The bill will be debated in the legislature on Thursday afternoon, November 7.