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Letter to the Editor: Highway safety improvements needed

To all communities along these corridors, I really sympathize with what is and has happened on these highways within this year.
A transport struck two houses in Beardmore along Highway 11 earlier this winter.

To all communities along these corridors, I really sympathize with what is and has happened on these highways within this year.

I am forwarding my thoughts and concerns on the safety of these highways as, even though I am from another northern community, I am just as affected by what is happening as anyone who resides near these highways. I have been travelling these highways for over 47 years.

I have forwarded emails to Thunder Bay-Superior North NDP MPP Lise Vaugeois’s office on my concerns and recommendations with a reply stating that a letter would be forwarded to Ontario Transport Minister Caroline Mulroney to look into the matter.

I have not seen in the media any such progress on obtaining a “solution,” and with that, there are still more road closures, near misses and fatalities.

I recently followed the news of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association conference which was held in Thunder Bay, and recall a mention that the government will be forwarding $592 million over the next few years in improving training, ramps, bridges and widening of highways. They may feel that this is the “solution” but by making highways wider, just causes more room for “cowboying“ acts, as for training that is a question, and who will be the trainers. This has to be an outside resource and not from the employer).

NOMA president Wendy Landry mentioned that the conference was a success and was glad to see newly elected councillors and mayors. I am hopeful that with these newly appointed councillors and mayors that they take aggressive action in having safer roads leading in or out of their community. They must take into consideration, that a road closure surely affects their situation affecting the needs required for supplying the community with goods.

I am a well-educated health and safety professional, and my passion is safety.

Action needs to be taken immediately even if a “temporary solution” is put in place, and it prevents incidents and fatalities. I have never been so more afraid now in travelling those highways than ever before . There isn’t a single week that goes by where we do not hear of a road closure or fatality on these highways and yes weather may be a factor but , some incidents are happening when the roadway is totally clear( transports are found driving into ditches or homes).

Something needs to be done and the “root cause“ identified — time is running out.

Training, qualifications, testing, company reviews and trainer certification as well as MTO inspectors becoming more visible and “ aggressive” in their inspections are just a few of my thoughts that would improve the situation at hand. I recall many years ago when “tires” were flying off of transport trucks and the “situation” after fatalities and incidents, was corrected. When was the last time you heard of a recent incident where a tire flew off?

Finally, no matter how well of a driver you think you may be, there is always someone who thinks they are “superior” to those in their “play ground”, and nothing can stop them. In their mind, they have a job to do, transport the goods and do as they are told from their employer.

Please take a moment and think about the recent fatalities of two individuals in the area of Shabaqua-Ignace, or the mentioning from a passerby on Facebook of two transports passing on a double-lined curve 17 kilometres west of Geraldton on Highway 11. Look outside the box and see how the situation in Geraldton could have been worse.

There is a solution, and if people can help with thoughts and ideas submitted to mayors and councillors, I think we as drivers would become more at ease knowing the drivers driving those transports have had the best training and have thoughts of good faith for those who drive with them or in opposite directions.

Please feel free to address your concerns as I do because it could make a difference to those travelling or simply being a community citizen affected by these major routes.

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