So much for a proper bypass on Highway 17 East. The Ministry of Transportation has basically said “Don’t talk to us about this again for 10 years”.
MTO will no longer be negotiating with the Batchewana First Nation to extend Highway 17 E. to meet the east limit of Second Line at Black Road; and, MTO will no longer be planning for,or initiating any environmental assessment work for a connection to Second Line.
That’s the news Sault Ste. Marie council will be discussing Monday at the regular council meeting.
Furthermore the MTO has stopped funding maintenance of the 25km of trans-Canada highway within the city limits and expects the city to pick up the cost of maintaining provincial traffic roadways.
Don Elliott, Director of Engineering Services in his report to council suggest a sit down meeting with MTO to reinstate connecting link funding.
Elliot notes that other northern cities receive monies for connecting links. “It should not sit well with this Council that it is financially responsible for all aspects of the TransCanada Highway within the city limits, with no hope of a bypass, when cities like Thunder Bay and Sudbury have bypasses, and roads within city limits that are exclusively the responsibility of the Province.”
“This is a significant cost to Public Works and Transportation budgets.” Elliot reports.