The province has announced plans to convert the remaining two-lane stretch of Highway 17 between Renfrew, Ont., and Arnprior, Ont., to four lanes.
The 22.5-kilometre stretch to be widened runs from Scheel Drive in the Township of McNab/Braeside to three kilometres west of Bruce Street in Renfrew, according to a news release from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke MPP John Yakabuski.
The project will also include the construction of four new interchanges.
“The economic opportunities, the development, the growth, and the tremendous enhancement to highway safety is something that we consider a top priority,” said Yakabuski in a video posted to Twitter on Thursday.
Widening Highway 17 in eastern Ontario was a promise that Premier Doug Ford made in the run-up to the 2018 provincial election.
Once completed, the entire highway between Arnprior and Renfrew would be four lanes. For drivers heading west from Ottawa, the twinned portion currently ends at Scheel Drive.
Highway 17 between Arnprior and Renfrew has been the scene of a number of serious collisions, including a fatal six-vehicle crash at Calabogie Road in 2016.
The first phase of the project, which would include building a new interchange at Calabogie Road, could get underway “within the next two or three years,” according to Barbara Mottram, a spokesperson for Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney.
No cost estimate
The three other interchanges would be installed on the highway at Gillan/Lochwinnoch Road, O’Brien Road, and Bruce Street/Castleford Road, Mottram wrote in an email.
The entire project — which will require the government to purchase the necessary property and carry out an environmental assessment, among other steps — is expected to be completed over the next 10 years, she said.
The province is not releasing an estimated cost for the highway widening until after the contract is awarded.