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Are Northern Ontario highways safe?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011   by: SooToday.com Staff

NEWS RELEASE

GILLES BISSON, MPP
TIMMINS-JAMES BAY

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MPP Bisson urges government to increase road clearing standards on Ontario highways

QUEEN’S PARK - Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson says Northern Ontario highways are not being safely maintained.

During question period today, Bisson says the Liberals have reduced the standards of the private contractors who now take care of winter road maintenance.

“So far this fall, we’ve had Highway 402 closed because of snowfall; we’ve had Highway 17 between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury and Highway 11 between North Bay and Hearst closed, where we’ve never seen them closed before,” said Bisson.

Bisson says the Ministry of Transportation used to keep highways open by clearing them faster and more often.

“When you renegotiated the new contracts you said, ‘We’re going to lower the standard.’ As a result, there’s 25 percent less equipment being used in those new contracts. That’s why Highway 402 was closed. That’s why 17 and 11 were closed,” explained Bisson.

Bisson believes the lowered specifications pose a safety risk, asking the premier: “Why are you prepared to jeopardize road safety by lowering the maintenance standards in those performance-based contracts?”

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