On Aug. 7, 2002, Kelly Henderson and
her twin 12-year-old sons, Jordin and Corbin Sauve, lost their lives
on Highway 69.
The family was returning home to
Sudbury just after 7 p.m., when an oncoming transport truck crossed
the centre line at the s-curve just south of the turnoff to
Killarney, and slammed into their small car.
Ten years and one day after the
collision, a 13-kilometre section of four-lane highway stretching
between Estaire and a few kilometres south of the turnoff opened to
While the area where the family died
was realigned and bypassed some time ago, it's only been open to two
lanes while construction was ongoing. All four lanes are now open to
The $68.2-million project, awarded to
Aecon, included the construction of Ontario's first overhead wildlife
crossing bridge, which is expected to reduce animal-vehicle
Kelly Henderson's brother, Ron
Henderson, was on hand at an Aug. 3 press conference, celebrating the
opening of the highway.
He explained how his family members'
deaths led to lobby efforts to get the province to four-lane Highway
69, something which wasn't even being considered at the time.
“At the funeral, I met an enraged
(Sudbury MPP) Rick Bartolucci, who basically told me then he was sick
and tired of going to funerals for family members and losing loved
ones on Northern highways, particularly on Highway 69.”
“He told me he was going to set up a
lobby group, which we ended up calling Crash 69, to lobby the
government of the day to four-lane 69.”
The project won't bring back his family
members, but Henderson said it's still “gratifying” to know
thousands of families will now be able to safely travel on the
Bartolucci said he's glad to see the
completion of this particular portion of the highway, as many lives
have been lost there.
Beyond the increased safety for
motorists, the four-laning will bring economic opportunities to
“The economic opportunities that are
presented when you have modern infrastructure are enormous,”
“We're already seeing very, very
tangible signs of confidence that people have in Sudbury for a
variety of reasons. One of those reasons are modern infrastructure
that the province of Ontario is investing in.”
Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs
John Baird was on hand for the press conference, held atop a new
overpass. Ottawa and Queen's Park jointly funded the project.
“There's been so much talk over the
years about getting this done,” said Baird. “There's so many
huge, competing priorities, not only in the province of Ontario, but
from coast to coast to coast, for highway construction.”
The 152-km four-laning work between
Sudbury and Parry Sound began in 2004. Construction is slated to
finish in 2017. Although the project has hit snags involving
environmental assessments, Bartolucci insists the four-laning remains
Due to inflation, Bartolucci said the
final pricetag will be higher than the original $1.5 billion
estimate. So far, the province has spent $521 million.
With only 80 kilometres left to widen,
the next section of the highway under construction is north and south
of the Murdock River.
Teranorth and Bot Construction were
awarded the contracts. As is government policy, the province did not
release the value of those contracts.