Ontario Adding and Expanding Highway Rest Areas in the North

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Province Supporting Travellers and Truck Drivers with More Places to Safely Stop

THUNDER BAY — The Ontario government is improving travel for drivers in Northern Ontario by building four new rest areas and repairing or expanding 10 existing facilities along provincial highways.

The new amenities will include more bathrooms, improved lighting and increased parking. This is part of the government’s plan to connect communities, build safer and better highways, help combat human trafficking, and keep our supply chain strong in every part of the province.

“In these extraordinary times, we recognize that there is a significant need for better facilities at rest areas in Northern Ontario for our province’s travellers and truck drivers,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Building more rest areas with better facilities will make travelling safer and more comfortable, especially for those who need to drive long distances. Through these improvements we are also taking steps to raise awareness of human trafficking to help put an end to this serious problem.”

For the 2020-21 fiscal year, Ontario is investing $2.6 billion to repair and expand provincial highways and bridges, including construction funding of $625 million in northern Ontario. These smart investments are estimated to create or sustain approximately 15,830 direct and indirect jobs and improve quality of life for workers, families and small businesses across Ontario.

“Improving rest areas is critical to ensuring Northerners and visitors alike can use our roads safely,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. “Our government continues to invest in vital northern infrastructure that keeps people and the economy moving across our vast region.”

As part of the government’s commitment to raising awareness and combatting human trafficking, the province is exploring anti-human trafficking measures at rest areas, such as improved lighting, posting information such as a support hotline and adding security cameras.

“By building new rest areas and expanding existing facilities in Northern Ontario, our government is making travel easier and more comfortable for all commuters,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “This investment will ensure the people of Northern Ontario have increased access to safe driving conditions and improved highway safety.”

“The Government of Ontario has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the trucking industry throughout the COVID crisis to improve truck drivers’ access to key services and amenities while on the road, which has allowed the industry to keep the province’s economy moving,” said Stephen Laskowski, President of the Ontario Trucking Association. “Today’s announcement of adding more parking and rest areas for truck drivers in Northern Ontario is yet another example of this ongoing commitment.”

Ontario 511 and the 511 app, with its easy to use map view and drive mode, will be updated whenever a rest area is expanded or developed to identify new facilities for truckers.

QUICK FACTS

  • Rest areas help serve the tourism industry in the province by providing travellers with places to stop and rest at 202 locations throughout Ontario.
  • Research confirms that driver fatigue contributes to a significant number of truck collisions. Providing more opportunities for trucks and other vehicles to stop and safely park so that drivers can rest will help keep Ontario’s roads and highways among the safest in North America.
  • To support the province’s trucking sector, Ontario has also provided portable washrooms at 32 truck inspection stations providing a place to stop and rest safely, and has ensured that parking and washrooms remain available at all 23 ONroute travel plazas.

Northern Ontario rest stop projects list: https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/58759/northern-ontario-rest-area-projects

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