FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 27, 2018
THUNDER BAY – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett raised issues of safe winter driving during Question Period on Monday.
Barrett asked Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek about the new 511 web site that provides up-to-date information on road conditions and where snow plows are operating.
“This winter season, our government is making the winter commute easier for people of Ontario,” Yurek said. “This year, we’re allowing drivers to track their plow and plan their route all in one stop: the Ontario 511 website, where you’ll be able to find information you need for your trip.”
Before the end of the year, the web site will also have updates on collisions and traffic jams. Yurek said the government is also updating its road maintenance contracts to take advantage of newer technology.
Barrett also provided a few tips for winter driving.
“I do want to reiterate that all drivers should give themselves more time during winter travel and plan ahead. We all have a duty to keep our roads and highways safe. Make sure you get a head start: Assemble a winter survival kit and get your vehicle maintenance check-up.”
The web site is available at: https://511on.ca/
For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]
ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Monday, Nov. 27
Winter highway maintenance
Mr. Toby Barrett: A question for the Minister of Transportation: I understand that the minister was in London last week to deliver an important announcement about this winter’s commute.
Each year, as we know, we work with our safety partners like the OPP, CAA and others to remind drivers to travel safely as the weather starts to change. Our government is committed to ensuring that winter travel is as easy and as safe as possible. We strive to encourage safe and cautious driving by also highlighting our winter maintenance activities to help drivers be better prepared for the coming winter months.
Obviously, winter is on the way. Snow is already affecting parts of the province. Can the minister share some details with us about our government’s winter maintenance plans?
Hon. Jeff Yurek: I would like to take the opportunity to thank the member from Haldimand–Norfolk for that question. I do have to say that when I was Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry he was an excellent parliamentary assistant. His guidance and his years of work in the Legislature are truly paying off for the people of this province.
Mr. Speaker, last week, it was my pleasure to attend the Emcon maintenance facility in London with many of my colleagues.
As the member mentioned, winter is on its way, and many parts of the province are already experiencing snowy conditions. This winter season, our government is making the winter commute easier for people of Ontario. This year, we’re allowing drivers to track their plow and plan their route all in one stop: the Ontario 511 website, where you’ll be able to find information you need for your trip.
Hon. Jeff Yurek: I’m hoping the members opposite are listening to this because I’m going to hear questions about winter maintenance. I’m hoping they’ll take the time to listen to this answer.
Given the treacherous driving conditions Ontarians experience this time of year, please remember to slow down, be patient and expect longer travel times. I look forward to expanding my answer in the supplemental.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.
Mr. Toby Barrett: I do want to thank the minister for that shout-out, but I do want to reiterate that all drivers should give themselves more time during winter travel and plan ahead. We all have a duty to keep our roads and highways safe. Make sure you get a head start: Assemble a winter survival kit and get your vehicle maintenance check-up.
We should all find comfort in knowing that Ontario has some of the highest winter maintenance standards anywhere in North America and that keeping Ontario’s highways as safe as possible during winter weather is a top priority. I’m asking the minister: Could you expand a bit more on your winter maintenance plan and what people can expect from the Ontario 511 website?
Hon. Jeff Yurek: Thank you again for that question. Our government for the people is improving the Ontario 511 website by allowing drivers to plan ahead: to see where along the route you might come across a snow plow or a salt truck and which part of the route that truck has already covered. Before the end of this year, the Ontario 511 website will also provide drivers with reported incidents, traffic jams and weather hazards.
Also, especially for our northern members who are going to be asking questions and making sure that the maintenance is happening: We are starting to implement new maintenance contract models that improve on highway maintenance services. I expect to have some report back from these members as we go forward, to make sure that we have made the necessary changes. The new contracts will include specifying the amount of winter equipment in the route, explicit patrolling requirements, the use of anti-icing liquids, and newer winter equipment that will be more visible.
Mr. Speaker, I’d like to tell the people of this province to remember that keeping our roads safe is all of our responsibility. We have to work together to keep our highways among the safest in North America.