-Reported by Richard Coffin
A new winter maintenance standard has been introduced involving Highways 11 and 17 in northern Ontario.
The province says the new Ontario Trans-Canada standard requires contractors to clear the highways to bare pavement within 12 hours of the end of a winter storm.
“Our government is the first to create a new highway level of service that will ensure Highways 11 and 17 are cleared faster, while improving road safety for drivers in the North,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Ontario already has nation-leading standards in place when it comes to winter maintenance, and this builds on our government’s broader efforts to ensure we keep it that way.”
The new standard for clearing snow follows a detailed technical review of winter maintenance operations on the two highways and an analysis of data from a winter maintenance pilot from the past two winter seasons on the highways.
The opposition New Democrats have been calling for the northern highways to be cleared within eight hours of a snowfall.
According to Ontario’s Highway Standard, that’s the standard for freeways or urban highways with more than 10,000 average vehicles per day. The standard for major highways, between 2,001 and 10,000 vehicles per day in the north, is 16 hours.