Designated truck routes won't solve safety issues: OTA

A provincial body that represents transport carriers says Thunder Bay's designated trucking route won't address safety concerns in the city.

Organization says city should have implemented community safety zones

The Ontario Trucking Association's president says Thunder Bay City Council made the wrong decision when it approved new designated trucking routes in the city. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

A provincial organization that represents transport carriers says Thunder Bay's designated trucking route won't address safety concerns in the city.

City council on Monday approved the creation of a Designated Truck Route (DTR) through the city. The move will effectively prevent transport trucks from travelling on Dawson Road and Arthur Street, instead forcing them to use the Trans-Canada Highway and Thunder Bay Expressway.

But Stephen Leskowski, president of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), says the decision means the city is simply pushing a safety issue from one roadway to another.

He says the issue with the expressway is the traffic lights.

"We've heard reports that compliance with those traffic lights for all vehicles, not just trucks, is an issue," Laskowski said. "Now you're adding all these trucks."

"You're creating a potential safety hazard."

Any changes to the layout of the expressway, such as replacing the intersections with interchanges, should have been done before the creation of the designated truck routes, he said.

Hilly and winding terrain in Kakabeka Falls is also a concern, Laskowski said, especially in wet or wintery weather.

The OTA, he says, would have supported the city implementing community safety zones, which could have included photo radar, in an effort to slow down transports. The city has the power to do that under provincial law, Lawskowski says.

"They could have done it just for commercial vehicles," he said. "We would have supported that."

The truck routes have not been ratified by council yet. Laskowski said the OTA will be submitting their concerns in writing to the city before the ratification vote.