Tbnewswatch Local News
Tuesday June 30 2015
5:22 PM EDT
2014-04-26 at 11:43

'Dangerous' highways

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath announces a plan to enhance safety on northern roads while being flanked by Thunder Bay-Atikokan NDP nominee Mary Kozorys (left) and Thunder Bay-Superior North NDP candidate Andrew Foulds (right) at the Valhalla Inn on Saturday.
Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath announces a plan to enhance safety on northern roads while being flanked by Thunder Bay-Atikokan NDP nominee Mary Kozorys (left) and Thunder Bay-Superior North NDP candidate Andrew Foulds (right) at the Valhalla Inn on Saturday.
By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- With the possibility of a spring election looming, the provincial NDP leader has a plan to fix area highways she labelled as being “dangerous” this past winter.

Andrea Horwath visited the city on Saturday to announce proposed initiatives to improve safety on northern roads, including more snow removal equipment and a commitment to four-laning the Trans-Canada highway.

Among those pledges is a proposal to spend $36 million on 200 new pieces of snow clearing equipment, which the NDP says will increase the allotment of snowplows and spreaders on northern highways by nearly 20 per cent.

“A week didn’t go by without news reports of near-misses or bad accidents on your highways,” Horwath said at a media conference at the Valhalla Inn.

“There is no way we should have a repeat of what happened this past winter season. It was dangerous. We got the calls almost immediately that people were concerned the standards had been reduced and they hadn’t been seeing the same level of snow clearing.”

Horwath, who will hold significant power next week when the Liberal minority government tables their spring budget, added the new equipment would be available for next winter if she and the NDP is in a position to make that call.

Winter highway conditions can’t be allowed to return to what they were this past year, she said.

“What we don’t want to see are more accidents or difficulties,” Horwath said. “We want to try to find the ways to get the infrastructure improved so people are safe so those vital connections to communities are improved.”

Speaking at this past week’s Northern Ontario Municipal Association meetings in Fort Frances, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Glen Murray had a different plan to correct a winter maintenance system he admitted he was unhappy with.

Murray would rather provide municipalities with the option to take on the task of snow removal themselves while receiving funding with employees either working for a shared services model through NOMA or directly for the municipality.

“We would fund municipalities to actually expand and provide highway coverage,” he said. “We would pay for the trucks, we would take the money and pay for the staff.”

Horwath also announced an intent to widen the Trans-Canada highway at a rate of at least 30 kilometres per year and adding new passing lanes in areas where four-laning is not feasible.

As to which specific portions of highway would be given initial priority, Horwath was non-committal.

“That comes from a consultation with northerners. I a person who doesn’t believe that I can come up with the best solution from some office down south,” she said. “It’s about making sure northerners are part of that discussion and that we listen to what they have to say to be able to put those priorities in place.”

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gremlin says:

Thanks for the reply. I addressed my post to you because I was under the impression you were the "head" of the news dept. I've always seen others asking you to clarify things. I am concerned though. Based on your reply it seems there's no standard by which decisions are made. It all depends on "who" sees a post first & their "personal sensibilities".

I hope that's not the case?
4/29/2014 10:55:50 AM
Leith Dunick says:
We try to maintain the same standards. Scott Paradis and I are ultimately responsible for the content on the site. But everything is subjective.

We probably allow -- not counting a resident troll who comments on every story using 25 different user names -- the vast majority of comments through. But we err on the side of being conservative. Not having seen your comment, I can't say why it wasn't posted.

We also don't hover over the comment section all day, so sometimes it takes us awhile to get to them, especially on busy days.I also try to keep the conversation going at night from home if I can, but it's not always possible.

4/29/2014 3:41:24 PM
gremlin says:

So what was the problem with my 2nd post in response to djs?
4/28/2014 5:52:05 PM
Leith Dunick says:
I don't know. Don't think I saw it. A few of us approve comments during the course of the day. They're not as nice as I am :)
4/29/2014 12:32:03 AM
Just Sayin' says:
The only thing that warrants spending tax dollars on highways in the North is putting a barrier between the highway where there are 4 lanes. The other investment should be in lights heading out to Oliver Papooinge and lights at least to the new clover leaf.
4/27/2014 10:13:31 PM
Razor_burn says:
I'll believe it when I see it.
4/27/2014 10:13:19 PM
nvjgu says:
What do they do, go from the airport to Valhalla and back. How about I Take you for a ride in my small car that has no suspension. Every street in Tbay is a right off, doesn't matter where you go. Awfull streets
4/27/2014 9:28:34 AM
jonthunder says:
NW Ontario highways will never have the traffic volume to warrant a full length divided hwy. More passing lanes and better shoulders would be doable and great. Also, I find transport trucks to drive at or close to the speed limit and safely.
4/27/2014 8:06:50 AM
gremlin says:

Limiting the speed on trucks? FYI, the speed on trucks is already limited to 105 KPH. Here's an idea, how about limiting the speed on 4 wheelers since they cause most of the accidents. What, you doubt me? Check the insurance industry stats.
4/26/2014 10:13:29 PM
djs says:
Isn't a four wheeler an all terrain vehicle that isn't allowed to drive on highways??? I could understand if you said "half ton" trucks, but I can't remember seeing any ATVs on the highways I drive.
4/28/2014 8:55:04 AM
djs says:
I would love to see the highway divided from one end of the province to another...but I have watched over the last 30 years the progress being made between Toronto and Sudbury...it has been a long, expensive job. I think the concept of adding in more passing lanes, having rest stops that are open YEAR ROUND, limiting the speeds on all transports, especially in the winter months, and working harder to maintain clear roads is the way to go. If they want to divide the highway, start around Kenora...it needs it.
4/26/2014 7:40:48 PM
j_northey says:
Agreed on how nice it would be to match Manitoba on the twinning of the roads. The issue with Sudbury and North Bay (twin highways where one would've been fine) is they are going through solid rock. For the stretch from Thunder Bay to Timmins that wouldn't be an issue too often, and for going along the Dryden/Kenora route it would be fine for the most part. For Atikokan/Fort Frances though it would be a nightmare but boy is it needed there (had a few scary moments myself there).
4/26/2014 11:33:33 PM
finnboy says:
I continue to be amazed at the lack of Policy and Direction of the ONDP.

The PC Party have released white papers on many issues I may not agree with them but they have put them forward.

The Provincial NDP are quick to criticize the Ontario Liberals but are have few solutions for the problems of the day.

What solutions they do put forward are ones we cannot afford. Lots of fluff and no meat on the bones I think.

4/26/2014 6:41:41 PM
mikethunderbay says:
After a little bit of research....Kathleen Wynne was quoted a few weeks back saying she is committed to 4 landing the trans canada highway in Ontario, so all you see here is Andrea Horwath doing her best to play catch up
4/26/2014 6:15:20 PM
Jack Frost says:
If you like Andrew Foulds as a Blunder Bay city councillor... then your really gonna love him even more as an Ontario MP...

Something to think about...

Hmmm... !!
4/26/2014 5:46:33 PM
Ozone says:
Three spend foolish people! Avoid the curse of the give to very cause NDP.

Look at Foulds dismal track record on our council to see proof!
4/26/2014 5:45:49 PM
hotchoc says:
So we have had more money invested in our highways that at any time in our history and the NDP are going to do better. This woman always arrives after the fact to say she will do better than whatever issue was being discussed. I thought four laning was already going on with a clover leaf, a new bridge in Nipigon. the current minister says changes are coming for northern highways and Andrea who has ignored the issue for a decade is going to do more, once again after the Liberals took a position. Maybe Andrea could come out with something original. Amazing what she is able to say without being challenged.
4/26/2014 4:50:55 PM
enos012 says:
If it wasn't for business people should be staying home when roads are horrible. It's safe cautious driving that prevnts accidents. People get winter tires and have 4x4 and think they are invincible out there. $ lanes highways would be nice but wasn't that new stretch out to KB supposed to be 4 lanes until money was the issue? Now rehire the people to do it over again? People going 80 when the have the old 11/17 and Oliver causes agressive drivingand accidents, from those that would at least like to do the speed limit.
4/26/2014 3:35:04 PM
pc says:
That idea is all well and good but what happens when you leave home the day is beautiful and you get part way to your destination and the clouds roll in and the roads and weather change?
Are you supposed to stop at the side of the road till it clears or take the sensible path and continue.
There are many reason for being on the road during bad weather and not all can be cancelled just because a bit of snow is coming down.
Drive according to the weather and road conditions and you will probably arrive safe.
Since the 4 lanes will never be completed on the north shore due to costs learn to drive in all weather and use some common sense.
4/26/2014 7:49:03 PM
pc says:
they are last in the polls so they will support the liberal gov. on the budget and there will be no election.
They will ask for and get more money spent on useless things and call it a win for Ontario. Thus putting off an election until they think they are further ahead in the polls.
4/26/2014 3:00:04 PM
Curious says:
Well Mr. Murray, maybe you should learn a bit about highway maintenance before you flap your chop. If you think for a minute things will change - then you had better talk to the guy upstairs an ask for year round summer.
4/26/2014 2:56:02 PM
RelaxinginMurillo says:
Where would all this new money come from ?
Likely a new gas tax/surcharge for "the north"..
4/26/2014 2:09:55 PM
YellowSnow13 says:
Here we go again. The NDP making promises they won't be able to keep. They are just in bed with the Liberals. When will the NDP supporters realize if they get elected your taxes will go up and up even more than the Liberals. Their logic of everyone should be the same does not work. Why should the guy that works his ass off be supporting the guy that does nothing and does not want to work? Just remember our good friend Bob Rae. When the ex-leader of the NDP comes out publicly and tells you their model does not work, why does the party still exist?
4/26/2014 1:52:52 PM
dynamiter says:
This is quite easily and cheaply fixed. Go back to solid rock salt and sand mixture. Shut down those stupid snowplows with that liquid salt tank disperser on the side. Besides being too wide and therefore dangerous also totally ineffective in these northern temperatures. I have seen them putting this liquid salt down in anticipation of a snowstorm and creating a skating rink of black ice down the highway.

Get rid of these units and put more trucks with snowplows with sanders in the back and use more sand and sand/rocksalt mixtures. Contract these jobs and ensure that northerners get first crack on bidding on these jobs unlike what they do on the highway jobs ( they all end up hiring a bunch of local trucks and men - so why are we sending the overhead dollars to southern Ontario companys)?
4/26/2014 1:45:20 PM
reese says:
To fix a highway does not make it safer the speed increases so does the carnage
The problem is with the vehicle is the electrical short between the seat and the steering wheel
4/26/2014 1:42:39 PM
mikethunderbay says:
I always wonder if people in this town understand that a vote for these clowns is essentially a vote for the conservatives because the ndp will not be forming a gov't anytime soon. This announcement also seems like the ndp are trying to one up the liberals budget coming on thursday. I would't be surprised to see the same thing announced in the budget by an actual government and not a third party. I don't want or think there is a need for an election, there is no question this gov't has invested in northern ontario more than any other gov't in our history and anyone who questions that simply hasn't been paying attention.
One last point or prediction for Thursday on this site....if the budget includes good investment for northern ontario most on here will say it's only because there could be an election if there isn't most will say we are always ignored...billions of dollars of investment is irrelevant to these people, must be exhausting for our reps to deal with these people
4/26/2014 12:25:52 PM
yqtyqt says:
"I always wonder if people in this town understand that a vote for these clowns is essentially a vote for the conservatives."

Are you living in a cave? Who has propped up this corrupt liberal government for years - the NDP. I don't have a problem with the NDP as a principled party. What you see from the NDP, is pretty much what you get. They are a left wing unionist party and always have been. The very same as you get from McWynntys party. The libs have moved as far to the left as the NDP, if not further. But they try to present themselves as a moderate party. Middle of the road is where they try to define themselves. But they suck up to the big public sector unions in fear of being tossed from power.

I think that the NDP platform and the liberal platform are exactly the same. Spend, spend, spend. Followed by borrow, borrow, borrow. Resulting in huge deficits and debt.

We have floundered for over a decade under liberal policies. We have moved from a strong province to a wimpy one.
4/27/2014 9:24:08 AM
S Duncan says:
that's exactly it. The Liberals have gone so far to the extreme left, they are making the NDP look better.

Ontario is doomed with more liberal bankruptcy spending/debt, and the NDP is clueless in that department as well.

The only party that has any aspirations to improve Ontario and get the debt down is the PCs, but the screaming from the entitlement generation, unions, bureaucrats and their friends is quite annoying.

It may be too late to save Ontario, and it was liberal policy and debts that did it, all while wasting billions of dollars trying to buy off the stupidest of the voters.

Ontario was once the economic engine of Canada, today it sits with 3 connecting rods hanging out of the block calling for an Alberta tow truck yet again. We haven't seen the repair bill yet because people are hiding their eyes from it.

but that doesn't mean we wont have to pay it.

thanks for destroying Ontario Liberals. Please go away and take Andrea and your supporters with you.
4/27/2014 2:36:36 PM
ranma says:
This is all great to hear..but where is she going to get the money? Our province is BROKE. Will they implement a tax for Southern Ontario to help supplement the construction costs? You know, like the special tax that was to be implemented to help fund Toronto's subways systems!
4/26/2014 12:14:02 PM
yqtyqt says:
When these party leaders make these wild promises, I would like them to make a specific statement as to where they will get the money to finance the work.

The libs have spent over 10 years trying to bankrupt the province. They're making serious inroads in that respect.

But like most informed posters here, I agree that there is little to no money. The province is well on its way to becoming BROKE.
4/27/2014 9:28:31 AM
Just Sayin' says:
Essentially Southern Ontario has been funding us all along. It's not like we have tonnes of private sector activity in Northern Ontario...We are pretty much the Ottawa of the North with respect to tax dollars. If we want nice things, we have to pay for them - not get nice hand outs.
4/27/2014 10:08:25 PM
gremlin says:
Four-laning the highway through Northern Ontario is financially impossible. If you think we (Ontario) is broke now (which it is) just wait till you see the deficit after that.

As someone that drives the highways a lot (truck driver) I've seen the conditions of the highway more than most people & have found them actually in very good conditions most of the time.

Unfortunately most accidents are because of human error, it's just the sad reality.
4/26/2014 12:09:32 PM
cityisgreat says:
Ontario's finances are in a dismall black hole. We have gone from one of the strongest provinces in jobs and manufacturing to a have not province, on par with Newfoundland of the past. The liberals have completely mismanaged our money and just simply tried to tax and spend their way of a deficit. I cant imagine what would happen if the NDP came to power...probably they would provide more spending (with no money to pay for it), increase taxes on the middle class to subsidize their socialist agenda of the redistribution of wealth what a disaster that would be...not saying the liberals are any better...they are at times worse as they just lack direction and feel the need to cling to power by doing what ever the NDP wants. so what's the only option...PC...oh no..time to leave the province and head to Alberta where they pay no provincial sales tax, no provincial income tax and don't get snow storms in late april
4/26/2014 12:09:22 PM
eventscentre says:
Calgary gets snowstorms in June, July and August.
4/27/2014 2:28:18 PM
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