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Province opens new commercial vehicle inspection station near Shuniah

Move is related to government plan to make Northern highways safer, improve travel options

SHUNIAH — The province has opened a new commercial vehicle inspection station on Highway 11/17 near Shuniah in northwestern Ontario. 

The new $30-million state-of-the-art facility is part of Ontario's plan to improve road safety and deliver faster and better transit infrastructure in the North.

Commercial motor vehicles using Ontario highways are subject to mandatory roadside safety inspections. 

In a March 15 news release, the province said Shuniah's new inspection station will come with “cutting-edge technology” to identify potential problems with commercial motor vehicles, such as underinflated tires and malfunctioning brakes.

“This inspection station will play a critical role in addressing road safety in our community,” said Kevin Holland, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, in the release.

“Our government is investing in northern transportation with infrastructure projects that will make a real difference to families and businesses.” 

In Ontario, 34 inspection stations across the province have highly trained enforcement officers who inspect the condition of commercial vehicles and monitor the behaviour and qualifications of drivers. 

“Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government is working to ensure Ontario’s highways are among the safest in North America,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Minister of Transportation, in the release.

“The new Shuniah commercial vehicle inspection station will help reduce the risk of accidents, protect everyone on the road and ensure the safe movement of goods across Northern Ontario.”

The province increased enforcement in 2023 on Highways 11, 17, 144, and 101, with officers conducting more than 4,000 inspections and laying 3,200 charges, including 700 for speeding. More than 1,000 vehicles were placed out of service. 

Expanding inspection facilities is among more than 60 actions listed in the government’s Connecting the North: A Draft Transportation Plan for Northern Ontario. This will help keep more people and goods moving safely, improve travel options for people in remote communities, and support economic growth in the North.

Greg Rickford, minister ofNorthern development and MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, said the government has heard from community members about the importance of improving road safety across the North. 

“As we attract families and businesses to our beautiful and vast part of Ontario, we are investing in the necessary infrastructure to ensure our highways are safe and reliable," Rickford said.

Wendy Landry, president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and Shuniah's mayor, said NOMA has been a long-time advocate of highway safety. 

“The investment of $30 million to open a new commercial vehicle inspection station near Thunder Bay is a welcomed and necessary step to address highway safety concerns and accidents on Highway 11/17,” Landry said. 

“We greatly appreciate this investment and anticipate it will improve highway safety near Thunder Bay and across the North.”

Sheila Maxwell, Conmee’s mayor, said people in the township also appreciate the investment. 

“This state-of-the-art facility will help increase highway safety for truck drivers — and all vehicles — travelling through Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario.” 

Ontario Provincial Police Deputy Commissioner Rohan Thompson said the OPP’s partnership with the province on commercial vehicle safety is a critical component to keep roads safe. 

“This new facility is an excellent example of our partner’s commitment to ensuring commercial vehicles meet all safety requirements, and our joint efforts to reduce the number of commercial vehicle-related collisions and save lives on our roads,” Thompson said.

— TBnewswatch