Highway 540 reconstruction will include paved shoulders suitable for safer cycling

MANITOULIN—The portion of Highway 540 currently under construction from Little Current to Honora Bay will come complete with paved shoulders, news that has pleased Manitoulin’s cycling community to no end.

“The section of Highway 540 that is currently under construction from Little Current westerly 17.6 km will have paved shoulders,” confirmed Carole Paiement with the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).

“We were surprisingly thrilled to see that the portion of Highway 540 under construction will be a widened roadway for the safety of those on the road,” said Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA) President Maja Mielonen. “We are highly optimistic that when resurfacing is done on Highway 6 from 10 Mile Point to Little Current it will also feature paved shoulders, as will the remaining portion of Highway 540.”

“It is so exciting that all of MICA’s hard work since 2010 is paying off for Manitoulin Island cycle tourism and the safety of our local cyclists and cycling commuters of which we see more and more,” she added.

According to the MTO Northern Highways Program the following rehabilitation roadwork is scheduled for 2018: Highway 6, from the South Baymouth Ferry northerly of Highway 542, resurfacing of 24 km; and Highway 6, Little Current southerly resurfacing/culvert rehabilitation, 20 km. The resurfacing of 27 km of Highway 540, west of Highway 551, easterly of Kagawong is scheduled for 2019-2021.

Ms. Paiement explained that the MTO is currently leading the process of assessing and revising the draft cycling network based on comments received through the Environmental Registry, including comments regarding Highway 540 from Little Current to Gore Bay.

“MTO has been encouraged by the enthusiastic feedback received throughout the engagement process,” said Ms. Paiement. “Almost 250 submissions were received when the draft network was posted on the registry in spring 2017.”

The final province-wide cycling network is scheduled to be published in late 2017. Ms. Paiement said that once published, an implementation plan will be put into place.