This historically wet summer has illuminated serious vulnerabilities in some of northwestern Ontario’s transportation infrastructure, Eric Melillo says more federal funding would help.
In an interview with the QMorning Show, Eric Melillo, MP for Kenora, commented on some of the impacts of this most recent historic rain storm. Tuesday’s storm caused flooding, and multiple road closures and even created a massive sinkhole in Highway 17 by Richard Lake.
“Obviously we have faced some unprecedented rainfall this year, but we are also seeing some of the vulnerabilities in our transportation network playing out. It's clear that we need more investment in the North to support our roads and highways, to me, that includes twinning of Trans Canada through northwestern Ontario,” said Melillo.
“Not only is it important for the traveller's safety, for the ability to access services, but also because we simply can’t afford to have one East-West corridor every time there is a washout or blockage on Highway 17.”
“There are risks of major disruptions and not just for us locally, but for the whole economy from coast to coast.”
The provincial government announced at the end of March 2022, that they would officially begin the construction of the twinning project after they awarded the contract to Moncrief Construction.
“The province has funded the first stage of the twinning project and we see that construction is happening at the border but we need federal support and federal partnership to finish the job.”
“I am going to be renewing my calls for the federal government to stop holding it up, come to the table and get it done. I think it is high time,” he concluded.
The sinkhole that was formed on July 19, was completely repaired after nearly 12 hours of completely closing Highway 17 in both directions.