Northwestern Ontario’s highway twinning project is one step closer.
Earlier this week, Moncrief Construction Ltd. opened up the newly paved and painted westbound lane and transition area, and both westbound and eastbound traffic are now being redirected onto the new roadway.
Kenora – Rainy River MPP and Northern Development Minister, Greg Rickford, was on hand for the announcement and ribbon cutting Wednesday.
It’s been 14 years since Rickford joined former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Dalton McGunity to announce the $100 million project for Highway 17, which finally moved forward in cooperation with the Four Winds Partnership in 2020.
“We’ll be there every step of the way as this major infrastructure project is completed, thanks to the hard work of the Moncrief Construction team that is getting it done. We are building Ontario,” says Rickford.
Crews are continuing to work on a 6.5-kilometre stretch from the Ontario / Manitoba border to the junction of Highway 673, with crews from Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent Nation. Work on the four-lane area is expected to wrap up by the summer of 2024.
The Four Winds partnership of Wauzhushk Onigum, Shoal Lake #40, Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation and Washagamis Bay First Nations has yet to give consent to Phase 2 or Phase 3 of the twinning project.
Phase two of the work includes the stretch between Highway 673 and Rush Bay Road, and phase three is between Rush Bay and Highway 17A into Kenora.
If all approvals move forward, Rickford and the Ministry of Transportation say the highway could be fully twinned by the end of 2025.
Earlier this year, the Manitoba government also announced twinning plans near Falcon Lake in response to a Dryden family’s call to action.
Residents are reminded to reduce speeds in construction areas and move over when near crews.