Abysmal winter highway maintenance in Northwest needs to change: Campbell

(VIDEO)

QUEEN'S PARK - Today Sarah Campbell, MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, made the following statement at Queen's Park about the poor winter highway maintenance in Northwestern Ontario:

Ms. Sarah Campbell: Ten days ago, northwestern Ontario was walloped with a winter storm that brought with it more than a foot of snow in some areas. While that may not be noteworthy in and of itself, what is remarkable is that 10 days later motorists are still grappling with the remnants of that storm on our highways.

Parts of the Trans-Canada Highway, our country’s main artery, still cannot be seen as it lies underneath layers of packed snow and glare ice in many areas across the northwest. This is despite the fact that the MTO deems it a class 2 highway, giving area contractors 16 hours to restore it to bare pavement. It appears as though these road-clearing standards mean little, if anything, to area contractors, as my offices are still inundated with complaints from northerners who are unnecessarily put at risk due to shoddy maintenance.

I have heard from seniors who have gone off the road, seasoned truck drivers who are unable to control their rigs, and quite alarmingly, from a father and infant who were trapped in their vehicle days after the storm ended.

The response from the MTO has been that there are ongoing concerns with Emcon and that financial non-conformance penalties have been issued, but that seems to have little effect on the condition of the roads and the resulting risks imposed on northerners who have no other transportation options. Northerners are tired of the same old tune each and every winter and they want to know when this government will prioritize our highways and our safety.