Highway 17 section leading to Espanola, Manitoulin needs to be reclassified for upgraded winter maintenance

ESPANOLA—Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha supports a request by Espanola town council for the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to have a section of Highway 17 reclassified for upgraded winter maintenance.

“Anything that means improved road conditions I will support and I will advance actions taken by municipalities and community members relating to this,” stated Mr. Mantha, last week. 

Mr. Mantha was referring to a resolution passed by the Espanola council, who are asking the MTO for                                                                                                                           reclassification of Regional Road #4, the Fairbanks turn-off, to the Highways 17 and 6 intersection turning into Espanola. That section is considered a Class Two when it comes to winter maintenance because there are less traffic volumes in the winter.

However, council states the change to class one is needed due to the high number of motor vehicle collisions, high volume of transports, movement of heavy equipment, as well as the topography. Council at a recent meeting unanimously agreed with the resolution which will now be sent to local MPs and MPPs for their support before being forwarded to the to the ministry.

“Number one, people have been injured and lives lost on Highway 17 and the area, and road maintenance needs to be upgraded in areas like this to provide safe conditions for drivers,” said Mr. Mantha. “If it means a return of winter maintenance into public hands to provide this, then that is what should take place. For the area Espanola council is asking for, it is the gateway to the town and Manitoulin Island. I support the request made by the town council.”