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Municipal group applauds 2+1 highway trial

Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities points to safety benefits of European road system
Swedish highway

The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) is lauding a Ministry of Transportation decision to trial the 2+1 highway concept in Northern Ontario.

After years of lobbying by municipalities for highway improvements, the ministry confirmed in January that it’s planning a pilot project to test out the system, which has been proven to reduce highway collisions and prevent fatalities.

In a Feb. 4 news release, Danny Whalen, president at FONOM, applauded the development.

“The commitment to a working group to determine suitable locations and criteria for a 2+1 model pilot project comes as welcome news to municipalities across the North,” Whalen said in the release.

Developed in Sweden, a 2+1 highway is a three-lane road with continuous and alternating passing lanes every two to five kilometres. It prevents long lines of traffic from queuing behind slower vehicles and eliminates unsafe passing.

Safety barriers, of either wire cable or steel guard rails, are placed in the middle to prevent vehicles, like transport trucks, from crossing the centre line into oncoming traffic.

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Heading up the lobbying efforts has been Mark Wilson, lead for Going the Extra Mile for Safety (GEMS), an offshoot of the Temiskaming Shores and Area Chamber of Commerce.

Wilson has been named to the provincial working group that will oversee the trial. The group is currently in the early stages of organization. No timeframe has been set for the pilot project.

A strong proponent of highway safety, Wilson has travelled to Sweden and Ireland to see the 2+1 model in person.

His presentation of the concept – at the annual conferences of FONOM and the Ontario Good Roads Association – was met with “significant interest and support,” Whalen said in the release.

He expressed gratitude for the collaboration from Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney and her staff.

“Safe and efficient travel is vital to growing the North, and having the provincial government as a partner in new ideas is a direct benefit to Northern communities,” Whalen said.

FONOM is an advocacy group representing 110 cities, towns and municipalities in northeastern Ontario whose mission is to improve the economic and social qualify of life for northerners.