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Roads: Ontario/GTA Highways Discussion

ShonTron

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I looked at the Highway 17 twinning near Sault Ste-Marie on Google Streetview, it looks great. If they continue to twin Highway 17 from North Bay to Ottawa, and from Manitoba to Nipigion, it will make a huge difference. That's a huge gap reduced a lot.

I don't think that people from Sudbury should be expected to drive through Toronto to get to Ottawa. Sudbury, Toronto, and Ottawa are all roughly the same distance from each other, almost like an equilateral triangle, so that would be doubling the driving distance. Plus GTA highways have enough cars as is. So just think of the Highway 17 as a Toronto bypass.
Too bad, with the abandonment of the historic CP mainline (later the Ottawa Valley Railway) from Mattawa to Smiths Falls, all CN/CP railway traffic has to come through Toronto.
 

nfitz

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Ontario's highway system is a paradox. Ontario is the most populous province with the most freeways by far, yet it has the longest quite stretch of two-lane highway on the TCH almost all the way across it.
Have you driven that road? From Thunder Bay (or at least the 11/102 intersection) to the Manitoba border, the traffic volume is very low - 500 km of nothing. I haven't seen numbers, but it must be lower than anything else from the BC border to Nova Scotia. I can't imagine the traffic volume ever justifying more than 2 lanes.
 

Haljackey

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In some ways, the Quebec system is more impressive
Quality over quantity. Quebec may have more highways but they typically are poorly maintained. Ontario has very few highways relative to it's population and area but they are generally well-maintained.

Would you rather have 1 big, properly-maintained highway running through a city or 3-4 smaller ones that slice through neighbourhoods and are not well maintained?


Detroit is a prime example. Despite it's population being less than Mississauga now, the Detroit metro is almost as large as the GTA (Detroit accounts for less than 20% of the Detroit Metro) and there are interstates everywhere that criss-cross neighbourhoods and are bumpy as hell. I'll sometimes take a flight from the Detroit airport and the the change of highway quality from the 402 to I-69/94 is insane.
 

innsertnamehere

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The only highway in Ontario that isn't really in good shape(That I have been on) is the 417 between Ottawa and Montreal, but even then, it isn't THAT bad.

Twinning the 417 all the way to Sudbury doesn't make sense. Bring it up to Petawawa, and maybe between North Bay and Sudbury, but otherwise 2 lanes should be fine. at MOST, grade separate some major intersections and build a couple of bypasses around some towns. (make it kind of like a super 2, but with minor roads still at grade)
 
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Transportfan

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Have you driven that road? From Thunder Bay (or at least the 11/102 intersection) to the Manitoba border, the traffic volume is very low - 500 km of nothing. I haven't seen numbers, but it must be lower than anything else from the BC border to Nova Scotia. I can't imagine the traffic volume ever justifying more than 2 lanes.
That was my point about Ontario's highway system being a paradox: It has the most freeways, yet the section of the national highway through the province is only a quite two-lane road. I know why it's only two lanes; I was just saying...
 
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Haljackey

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That was my point about Ontario's highway system being a paradox: It has the most freeways, yet the section of the national highway through the province is only a quite two-lane road. I know why it's only two lanes; I was just saying...
I believe Quebec has more controlled-access highways, at least in terms of total KMs.

Also Ontario is huge, and northern and southern Ontario are quite different places. There are some that think the two should split and form separate provinces due to these differences. I don't see a paradox here at all. I would consider the 'through' road as Highway 401 as it runs through the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor and is much more populous and geographically important than Highway 17.
 

nfitz

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Also Ontario is huge, and northern and southern Ontario are quite different places. There are some that think the two should split and form separate provinces due to these differences. I don't see a paradox here at all. I would consider the 'through' road as Highway 401 as it runs through the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor and is much more populous and geographically important than Highway 17.
It's also I'd assume the route that most stuff from Ontario and even some from Quebec use to get to Saskatchewan and points west. The only reason I've ever driven the Trans-Canada was because we were transporting stuff that we didn't feel it was wise to take through the border.
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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I believe Quebec has more controlled-access highways, at least in terms of total KMs.

Also Ontario is huge, and northern and southern Ontario are quite different places. There are some that think the two should split and form separate provinces due to these differences. I don't see a paradox here at all. I would consider the 'through' road as Highway 401 as it runs through the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor and is much more populous and geographically important than Highway 17.
Is the situation not pretty similar in Quebec as it is in Toronto. A dense metropolitan region to the South and a sparse wilderness marked by a few small towns and native reserves to the North? When I think of Quebec's population I think of the band of Hull, Montreal, Quebec City and Trois Rivieres as having the majority of the province's population and north of Tremblant being pretty sparse... I could be wrong though.
 

Transportfan

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The situation in Ontario is different than Quebec (or the northern parts of the western provinces for that matter). Here, the "north" isn't just to the north, but to the northwest as well, which makes it feel even more disconnected from the south. Also, the main trans-national axis passes through Ontario's north, while in other provinces the north is bypassed.
 

gweed123

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The situation in Ontario is different than Quebec (or the northern parts of the western provinces for that matter). Here, the "north" isn't just to the north, but to the northwest as well, which makes it feel even more disconnected from the south. Also, the main trans-national axis passes through Ontario's north, while in other provinces the north is bypassed.
That's true. Northern Ontario has the whole rest of the country to connect to. Northern Quebec just has Southern Quebec, and Newfoundland & Labrador (whose main connection is via Nova Scotia and New Brunswick).

The idea of "Northern Separation" is an interesting one. Theoretically Northern Ontario could then become a territory, and the twinning of Highway 17 could become a Federal project, seeing as how it is of more importance to the nation than it is to Ontario. Obviously there would be many more reasons than that to separate, I'm just illustrating one. FWIW, I think Northern Quebec should do the same thing.

Subdividing northern territory is hardly a new phenomenon. The Northwest Territories have been divided and re-divided many times throughout its history. In fact, letting Northern Ontario separate from Ontario would in essence just be reforming a large chunk of the district of Keewatin, which used to comprise parts of what are now Ontario, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories, but was abolished when Ontario and Manitoba took their current borders.
 

gweed123

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Okay, this is getting way off topic. I am amused though by the new province of "Newfoudland and Labrador" which seems to have the same boundaries as Newfoundland and Labrador. :)
Yeah, it kinda is, haha. Feel free to move it if you like. And thanks for noticing the typo :p.
 

Wrenkin

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Have you driven that road? From Thunder Bay (or at least the 11/102 intersection) to the Manitoba border, the traffic volume is very low - 500 km of nothing. I haven't seen numbers, but it must be lower than anything else from the BC border to Nova Scotia. I can't imagine the traffic volume ever justifying more than 2 lanes.
I've been on it, and I don't think it's all as empty as you suggest, at least in summer. The twinned highway from Winnipeg to Whiteshell Provincial Park is comfortable but it can get quite busy on the two-lane through the park, and on into Ontario to Kenora.
 

nfitz

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I've been on it, and I don't think it's all as empty as you suggest, at least in summer. The twinned highway from Winnipeg to Whiteshell Provincial Park is comfortable but it can get quite busy on the two-lane through the park, and on into Ontario to Kenora.
I've driven it in the summer. I was amazed when we got to the Manitoba border, that suddenly there was traffic! I didn't see much between Kenora and Dryden, and not much more between Dryden and getting close to Thunder Bay.

But the occasional visit may be subject. Let's look at the AADTs - from 2010 - http://www.raqsb.mto.gov.on.ca/techpubs/TrafficVolumes.nsf/fa027808647879788525708a004b5df8/f51986ea499a13b08525745f006dd30b/$FILE/Provincial%20Highways%20Traffic%20Volumes%202010%20AADT%20Only.pdf

The 72 km stretch of Highway 17 between 647 and Highway 71 is 2,950 cars a day. Seems to be about 2,600 between Ignace and Dryden. I'm surprised that Terrace Bay to Marathon (east of Thunder Bay) is even lower at 1,700. There's no significant traffic until Sault St. Marie, and then it's about 5,500 or so between there and Sudbury.

Compare that to highways they are talking of twinning, such as 7 from Kitchener to Guelph (about 20,000). 6 from 401 to Freelton (22,000). Or the piece of 7 they did just twin west of 417 (about 17,200 ... as they hadn't twinned yet in 2010.). Even 17 from Arnprior to Renfrew is about 12,500
 
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