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For the first time in 17 years a new four-lane section of highway has opened up in the Thunder Bay area.
Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation announced Friday that the new lanes between Hodder Avenue and Highway 527 are now open to traffic.
The project also includes the region's first-ever highway interchange. The upgrade was announced in the spring of 2009 and got underway in August 2010.
The $42-million contract was won by Sudbury's TeraNorth Construction and Engineering.
The interchange and five kilometres of new highway were originally planned to be completed in the summer of 2013, but the contractor is way ahead of schedule.
The overpass and interchange opened up just recently, and the eastbound lanes are now paved and ready to use.
The westbound route has been reduced to one lane for now, so that paving work can be completed.
The last time a new section of four-laning opened was in 1995, when the five-kilometre section between Balsam Street and Hodder Avenue was completed.
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(Thunder Bay Television)