Feds, province announce $35 million in Northern Ontario infrastructure projects

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Roads, bridges and airport improvements are included in a $35-million injection of federal and provincial money into 12 Northern Ontario projects.

In the Town of Atikokan, approximately 11 kilometres of road are being improved, including 3 kilometres of new curbing. This project will improve access to main roads for emergency responders, improving residents’ safety.

The regional airports in Gore Bay and Hornepayne will receive upgrades that include a new airport terminal, an expansion of a secondary runway, improvements to security and wildlife fencing; and repaving the runway and installing a new LED lighting system along the runway. These upgrades will reduce maintenance and service interruptions, offering passengers a higher quality service.

“Rural communities help build our nation. By investing in projects like these, we are helping to make them thrive, become more competitive and we are contributing to our country’s economic recovery in these unprecedented times,” said Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Rainy River. “These projects will help create well-paying, stable jobs during the construction phase, and they will have positive and long-lasting effects on residents and businesses well into the future.”

Other projects include road improvements in Chapple, Wawa, Thessalon, Smooth Rock Falls, Nairn and Hyman, Sheshegwaning First Nation and White River. In addition, bridge repairs and replacements will create safer and more efficient driving conditions for Laird and Kapuskasing.  

Smooth Rock Falls will receive more than $6 million to repave several streets new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and some landscaping.

Funding will go towards improving 2.5 kilometres of roadway to three Wawa schools, to create a safer environment for Wawa’s youth to attend school, with new accessible pedestrian crossings, bike lanes and a new bus loading zone.

“I am overjoyed and very grateful that Wawa has received over $4 million in funding from the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada plan,” said Ron Rody, Mayor of Wawa. 

In the Township of Nairn and Hyman, funding will pay for widening and resurfacing of nearly two kilometres of Old Nairn Road – a vital arterial road, improving traffic flow and increasing safety and security for drivers and pedestrians. This project also supports the economic development of our community and will help our businesses grow with a safer and more reliable transportation route.”

“Investing in ‘shovel ready projects’ like these helps to create jobs and improve the lives of residents in these northern and First Nations communities,” said Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure. “By investing in new roads and bridges and improvements to regional airports, we can help drive local economic development and move people and goods safely and effectively across the Algoma Region.”

On June 3, Ontario announced it was investing $150 million to launch the Improving Connectivity in Ontario program to fund broadband infrastructure projects in rural, remote and underserved regions of Ontario. This is part of the province’s $315 million initiative Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan.

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