No timeline for rest of 4-lane plan

Shuniah, Ont. — An extensive four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway east of Thunder Bay is more than half-way done following the latest added section that was unveiled last week, the Ministry of Transportation says. With the additional nine-kilometre section of the Highway 11-17 route officially put in service last week near Dorion, “58.3 kms of the planned widening of Highway11-17 between Thunder Bay and Nipigon is now complete,” a ministry spokeswoman said in an email. So far, the province has spent nearly $482 million on the upgrade, which started as a pet project for former Liberal Thunder Bay-area MPP Michael Gravelle. The nine-kilometre section that opened last week was alone priced at $75 million. The goal is to have the entirety of the 100-kilometre route upgraded to four lanes from two, although the ministry can’t say exactly when that will happen. “There are six remaining sections of the larger expansion project, with two currently in construction and four currently in the design phase,” the ministry spokeswoman said. “The timing of construction will be confirmed as this work advances,” she added. Supporters, meanwhile, have urged the province to not take its foot off the gas. “We’re hoping to see a reduction in the number of accidents or head-on collisions,” said Shuniah Mayor Wendy Landry “I continue to support the widening of the (Highway 11-17) highway,” she added. The province has also funded a new $30-million truck inspection section, which is also located in Shuniah on the north side of the highway. Ministry officials expect the station to be in operation sometime this fall.