Timeline For Hwy. 17 Expansion Announced
The long-awaited widening of Highway 17 to four lanes between Arnprior and Renfrew will begin in two to three years.
That was the promise made on Thursday by the provincial government, as Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MPP John Yakabuski announced a timeline and details for the work.
"Today begins a new chapter", Yakabuski told community leaders who gathered in Renfrew for the announcement.
Yakabuski says a 22.5-kilometre stretch, from Scheel Drive in Arnprior to 3 kilometres west of Bruce Street in Renfrew, will include four new interchanges and will be finished in 10 years.
"This is the biggest capital investment, from a provincial standpoint, in Renfrew County history", Yakabuski said, noting that 14,000 drivers realy on this stretch of highway each day.
“For economic development, for expansion, for growth, for safety: for all of these reasons, the continued twinning of Highway 17 is a priority”, he noted.
Yakabuski says there’s still work to be done before new lanes can be laid down.
"We have about 60% of the property acquired, there's design work to be done, environmental assessments to be done, but we fully expect, given any of the challenges we foresee, that we'll have shovels in the ground in two to three years", Yakabuski said.
Renfrew County Warden Jennifer Murphy says the long-awaited news is exciting for the entire region.
"This announcement will promote growth in the region that supports economic development, tourism, and improves this key transportation link to large employers in the County", Murphy said.
“A number of positive spinoffs will result as a direct correlation to the highway expansion, namely in enhanced economic development opportunities, increased efficiency of movement of labour, goods, and services, and improved road safety”, noted Renfrew Mayor Don Eady.
"The businesses of Renfrew and area have been waiting a long time to hear this good news. We're confident the twinning of this highway past Renfrew will help our comunity thrive", said Susan Tough, President of the Renfrew and Area Chamber of Commerce.
Yakabuski thanked Renfrew County Council and staff at the County of Renfrew for being tireless avocates for the highway expansion, and added that many other people have also fought hard over the years to advance the project.