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Highway 17 closed between Batchawana and Wawa (2:15 p.m. update)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013   by: Staff
2:15 p.m. update
Motorists are advised that Hwy 17 between Batchawana and Wawa is now open in both directions.

8:15 a.m. update

OPP wish to advise motorists that Hwy 17 between Batchawana and Wawa remains closed in both directions due to weather related conditions causing poor visibility.
Original 5:30 p.m. road advisory - Hwy 17 between Wawa and Batchawana is closed

Superior East Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police advise of the following road advisory:

Location: Highway 17 – between Wawa and Batchawana

Brief Description of Event: Closed due to weather related conditions causing poor visibility.

Detour (if available):  N/A

Estimated duration of Road Advisory: N/A

The O.P.P. will distribute details and updates of the road advisory as information becomes available.

Please do not call O.P.P. Provincial Communication Centres for road advisory updates or road condition information.

Visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation website or call 511 for traveller's information such as winter road conditions, construction reports, road closures, traffic reports, traffic cameras and interactive mapping.

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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of Keep discussions civil and on topic. Refrain from obscenity and don't post anything that your grandmother would be ashamed to read. Those who do not abide by these guidelines will have their membership revoked without notice. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
mallet 12/9/2013 6:39:07 PM Report

Wow, lots of closures already, and winter hasn't even started yet. I can see this is going to be a 4 gas can season. Perhaps you snowmachiners will get some use out of those trail passes yet... if there's any trails to ride on!!!
Timbob 12/9/2013 8:42:02 PM Report

You hit the nail on the head Mallet - "Lots of closures already, and winter hasn't even started yet."

Yes, winter hasn't even started and the dumbbells are closing the highway every second day. Complete nonsense.

A little blowing snow or a few snowflakes and they think no one knows how to drive any more. Just an excuse to further reduce the highway maintenance contracts, and for the OPP to sit in their cars at 4th Line or the Voyageur drinking coffee instead of driving the highway like they should be doing.
Tee 12/9/2013 10:16:54 PM Report

I hope that is sarcasm otherwise OMG are you ever bitter......don't worry about things you can't control, be happy.
Sam C 12/10/2013 8:55:50 AM Report

Timbob... I heard a report this morning on the radio... the snow depth at Lake Superior Park this morning is 71.5 cm (28 inches), with snow still falling.

Add in the wind blowing in off the Lake, and I think the "dumbells" are right in keeping the highway closed.
muf 12/10/2013 9:25:05 AM Report

Well I do believe it is the OPP that make the call to close the highway Timbob. I dunno maybe they`re trying to save a life or two ??. And if you haven`t noticed in the last few years our weather patterns have been changing ...the big rain storms ,very high winds we now enjoy during summer and fall.
You don`t suppose the winter weather could change as well do ya ?
hblighthouse 12/10/2013 2:13:53 PM Report

The north highway is open...for now.
guzzman007 12/10/2013 2:54:49 PM Report

You SOO CITY SLICKERS might have a dusting of snow compared to Batchawana Bay and north of us! yes the highway has been closed 3 times since last Wednesday freezing rain and the snow squalls bigtime have not stopped since then.So pretty much now,when it does snow they close the highway, with this new company(MTO-JOKE-CONTRACTORS) from Australia have no clue how to take care of the highway in the true north,all they are worried about is saving their money,cause the highways have never been so bad since they took over with one plow/sand/salt-truck goin north to montreal river hill and south to the soo is redicilous!thats our Ontario government for ya,save money and line the politicians pockets as always!So now theres gotta be a good foot of snow after last nite easy for you sledders and its just the beginning and lots more to come!!HO,HO,HO!
Sam C 12/10/2013 3:40:02 PM Report

I'm not saying that Transfeld has done the best job, but... the fact that the company is headquartered in Australia has very little to do with the job they are doing.

They hire employees from the area -- it's not all shrimp-on-the-barbie Aussies who've never seen snow before.

As I hear it, too, part of the problem is the instructions they are given by the MTO as to when to plow, etc. The government is trying to save money, and they are nickel-and-diming eveything, including snow removal and highway maintenance.
westofthesoo 12/10/2013 4:00:26 PM Report

-42 northern manitoba! advantages: been snowmobiling for a month now, ice fishing is great and the winter fun has started. Disadvantages: have to be prepared well, hard on snow machine and quads.Also, roads closed often it jusgt sucks when medical emergency happens !!
Sunshine_banks 12/10/2013 4:19:52 PM Report

We left Wawa yesterday morning for the Sault to do our Christmas shopping. We got quite a bit done and looked towards the North and realized it was getting pretty black that way so we decided to get on the roads before we got stuck in the Sault. They closed the highway at 5:30 must have been right behind us....Now what I have to say may shock some of you who are bound and determined to blame the company from Australia lol...The biggest issue was not ice and snow on the roadways but........Visibility, the snow was blowing and at times we could hardly see. It took us 3 1/2 hours to get home. So I really hate to say it but at this point in time you will have to lay blame for the highway closures at Good Old Mother Nature's feet. Now I am going to sit here and hope that I can get back to the Sault to get the rest of my shopping done at some point before Christmas.
lodgekeepers 12/10/2013 5:15:18 PM Report

Last night the highway closed a approx. 5:30pm. Blowing and drifting snow was the concern. A guest staying at my lodge arrived here at 7:30pm. It took him almost 4 hours to drive from Wawa to here (Batchawana). He said after 30 plus years of driving around Canada, that was the worst storm he ever encountered. The highway closed southbound after he was already on it.
He was still shaking this morning from the bad weather driving experience.
I know the boys who drive the plow trucks for Transfield, all good old northern Ontario boys who have been driving trucks all their lives, and they do not control the onslaught of white out conditions. The never stopped plowing throughout the entire storm. Thanks guys.
P.S. the OPP police were busy at the road closure spot so they could not come in the lodge for coffee. They man it during the entire time of the closure.
P.S.S. Another guest (scared to death when she arrived here from the north) reported that cars and trucks were off in the ditch all over between Wawa and Batchawana.
Good call OPP, and good job Transfield drivers.
Frank O'Connor
hblighthouse 12/10/2013 5:22:17 PM Report

They should be closing the highway soon.
Visibility is down to around 50ft. Traffic is at a crawl.
MTO tried to save money by contracting who's paying for the 30 extra combination units we were supposed to get?
hblighthouse 12/10/2013 5:28:25 PM Report


The plow just went southbound at about 10kph.
Been there...done that.
Agreed, not much can be done under these conditions.
Timbob 12/10/2013 6:36:11 PM Report

Well y'all can talk about how bad the conditions are, and how great your buddies at the OPP are - and maybe yesterday actually was a particularly bad snow day.


I stand by my argument that it's total BS the way they continually close the highway these days. Absolute nonsense. They may as well just erect a sign saying "Summer Road Only - Closed October to May".

One of the issues is the highway is NOT maintained properly. Period. Good old Northern Ontario boys or not. Whether it's the guidelines provided to them, or the equipment, or the budgets - none of those are my concern. My concern is that whenever it snows the highway is either a solid piece of ice or a slush and snow filled landscape for hours on end. This was NEVER the case 20 years ago.

The second issue is the OPP have taken it upon themselves to turn us into a Nanny state and at the drop of a hat (oops, I mean snowflake) close the highway at the slightest sign of anything - all under the "liability" umbrella.

Trust me, I've driven that highway for many years, including January nights where it took 5 hours to get from Wawa to the Sault. You couldn't see 50 feet, but you slowed down and drove with care. The plows were out and so were the OPP. Everyone didn't sit behind their "liability" cape and a cup of coffee letting the overtime pile up.

It's our trans-national highway for crying out loud. Our one and only economic transportation route across the country. And I'm not sure what's worse - the fact that it's always closed, or that the majority of Canadians have become soft, whining, politically correct patsies who ought to live in Georgia instead of Northern Ontario.
Tee 12/10/2013 7:29:18 PM Report

"Trust me, I've driven that highway for many years, including January nights where it took 5 hours to get from Wawa to the Sault"

I guess that about says it all, you are the last guy I would trust to make a decision about a road closure.

Just because things were done in the past does not make them right, remember in the sixties there were cigarette commercials endorsed by doctors.
hblighthouse 12/10/2013 7:40:45 PM Report


I guess the contract between Transfield Services and the MTO is a secret. The old winter maintenance manual has definitely been favour of the contractor.

Agreed, since Transfield arrived winter maintenance has deteriorated. They thought they would save money by using combination units.

At one time Batchewana Patrol had two plows (with underbodies), two sanders and a combination unit. The yellow line had priority and the road was bared as quickly as possible. Many tonnes of salt was used, something the MTO has decided is no longer necessary.

Transfield and the MTO thought that two combination units would be sufficient. Welcome to Northern Ontario Transfield.
Yesterday, for the first time in many winters they used two trucks from Batchewana to Montreal River but the conditions worsened. When you can't see the yellow line or the outside windrows, you might as well park it.
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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of Keep discussions civil and on topic. Refrain from obscenity and don't post anything that your grandmother would be ashamed to read. Those who do not abide by these guidelines will have their membership revoked without notice. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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