News Provincial

Hwy 417 proceeding once again

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

Hwy. 417 expansion near Kanata. (Mike Aubry, CCN)

Hwy. 417 expansion near Kanata. (Mike Aubry, CCN)

Highway 417 is remaining on the province's radar, as Ontario approved planning for the next section of roadway.

 

On Tuesday, Renfrew County's operations committee received a copy of a letter from the Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca sent to local MPP John Yakabuski in which the Minister stated that the province remains committed to the four-laning project.

“I am pleased to advise you that the ministry did secure approval to proceed with detail design for the next phase of expansion of Highway 17 from Scheel Drive to three km west of Bruce Street (Town of Renfrew),” he wrote.

Coun. Tom Peckett, operations committee chairman, thanked Del Duca for this news, and expressed gratitude to Renfrew Coun. Peter Emon for his immense contribution on this issue, as well as all those who have worked long and hard to bring attention to the Highway 17 expansion as a vitally important issue for Renfrew County.

Warden Jennifer Murphy was pleased with the ministry proceeding with the detailed design phase, which brings the completion of 417 a little closer to reality.

“I want to thank Minister Del Duca and the provincial cabinet for their decision to move this project forward,” she said. “This announcement allows the ministry to move forward with all the steps that lead to getting the highway corridor ready for four lane expansion to just past Renfrew.”

Murphy said she wanted to specifically thank MPP John Yakabuski and former Warden Peter Emon for their tireless efforts to keep bringing this issue to the forefront with the province, creating dialogue with stakeholders which without a doubt has contributed greatly to the realization of the announcement.

Emon said Renfrew County, Yakabuski and the community have worked hard to demonstrate the need for the development of this critical piece of provincial and community infrastructure.

“I believe our partnerships with and the support of North Eastern Ontario also demonstrated the importance of Highway 17 in serving Ontario and Canada,” he said.

The letter outlined that MTO will now be acquiring design consultants, continuing with property acquisitions, utility relocations, environmental approvals, consultations with Indigenous communities, the public and stakeholders. Once construction funding is confirmed, the ministry will identify the project in their five-year plan portion of the Southern Highways Program.

In March of 2016, a delegation comprised of elected officials from Renfrew County and other stakeholders met with Del Duca in Renfrew where the minister said that the ministry would follow up with the county with a plan in the near future regarding the next steps for the Highway 417 expansion.

SUhler@postmedia.com